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Immigration Reform Could Save Historically Unproductive Congress

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But Only if House GOP Leaders Move from Talk into Action 

Yesterday, after the New York Times reported that this Congress is on track to be the least productive in history, John Harwood of the New York Times and CNBC tweeted “Whatever else Obama fumbles/Rs obstruct, substantive/political success of this Congress rests on 1 thing still TBD: compr immigration reform.”

With an immigration bill already passed the Senate, over 190 cosponsors in the House on a bipartisan bill, and consistent support from a broad majority of Americans, immigration reform has a clear path to victory and could change the game for the GOP.  But only if House Republicans take the next step, which requires less talk and more action.

In an interview with the editorial board of his hometown Richmond Times-Dispatch published this weekend, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) acknowledged the need for the GOP to broaden its appeal to women and minority voters.  The paper reports: “Cantor said one his priorities will be incremental improvements in the country’s broken immigration system, beginning with the Kids Act, which would create a path to citizenship for people who were brought to the United States illegally when they were children.”  The problem is, despite promises of introduction since July 2013, the Kids Act simply doesn’t exist as legislation.

According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:

It’s not hard to understand why the Republican-led House has been so unproductive this year.  They spend all of their time voting on message bills, and talking about issues like immigration instead of actually tackling them.  Where is the Cantor Kids Act?  Where is the Goodlatte proposal to legalize the 11 million aspiring Americans?  Where is the Issa bill?  So far, the only immigration proposals that the House has acted on are a series of Draconian bills at the committee level and a Steve King floor amendment to deport DREAMers.  The rest of these proposals exist only in press releases and media accounts.

As the immigration fasters on the National Mall provide a daily reminder of the commitment and stamina of the pro-reform movement, it’s time for House Republican leaders to show some commitment of their own.  Over 190 House Members, including a handful of Republicans, have signed onto the bipartisan HR 15 legislationPolling consistently shows that the vast majority of Americans, including Republicans, support immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans.

“If Republicans want to broaden their appeal to diverse voters—really, any American who expects leaders to lead and solve problems – they need to talk less and do more.  With a bill already passed the Senate, support from a majority of Americans, a bipartisan proposal introduced in the House, and sufficient support for the bill to become law, immigration reform with a path to citizenship is teed up as the comeback issue for the House GOP.  But they have to take a swing,” said Tramonte.