Thursday, February 06, 2014


... that there apparently won't be immigration reform this year:
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner signaled on Thursday any action on immigration is unlikely this year because House Republicans don't trust President Barack Obama on the issue.

"There's widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws and it's going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes," Boehner told reporters....
Yup, it's all Obama's fault. Chris Cillizza writes:
Making President Obama the issue is never a bad thing for a Republican Speaker who wants to keep his job. If the narrow window to pass immigration reform closes entirely sometime between now and November, Boehner has now created a perfect political scapegoat on which to blame things.
Also, as Cillizza notes, House Republicans don't have much reason to pass immigration reform this year because the GOP doesn't need votes from outside its base to win this year's midterms. Also, if Boehner allows the debt ceiling increase to pass, he has to do something to mollify angry zealots in his caucus.

I find all this amusing because all the Very Smart People told us this was a big deal back in December:
New Boehner Hire Supports Path to Citizenship

House Speaker John Boehner's new staffer in charge of immigration policy has significant experience in drafting immigration legislation and pushing for reform. She wouldn't be coming to Boehner's office if House Republicans weren't serious about doing something on the issue. What that is remains to be seen.

Rebecca Tallent, former chief of staff to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will be coming to the speaker's office from the Bipartisan Policy Center, where she has served as director of immigration policy. Her move "is affirmation of [Boehner's] strong desire to move legislation in 2014," BPC's immigration task force cochairman, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, said in a statement....
Either Boehner was fooling himself into thinking he could make this happen with Tallent's help, or he was fooling us. In the latter scenario, Tallent was to his staff what Colin Powell was to George W. Bush's foreign policy team, someone hired to signal an openness to moderation that was never really part of the plan. Though maybe the former scenario makes more sense -- Boehner is just powerless in the face of his crazies.

Or perhaps Dave Weigel is right: he says the reform push is still alive for this year, and Boehner is just trying to sound like a sourpuss as a way of "managing his conference and generating the headlines that would not rouse any anti-reform groups" -- after all, what he's saying is
straight from the current approved talking points.

Look back just four days to the Sunday shows that came after the House GOP retreat. Eric Cantor: "The president [has] got to demonstrate frankly to the country and the congress can trust him in implementing the laws." Paul Ryan: "Here's the issue that all Republicans agree on -- we don't trust the president to enforce the law."
But what Steve Benen says seems much more plausible:
... it's possible GOP lawmakers hope to use this excuse to tilt the policy playing field in their favor. As Greg Sargent noted on Monday, Republicans may very well insist that increased border security begin well in advance of any other part of immigration reform, insisting that it's the only way for Obama to prove his "trustworthiness." In other words, the legislation would give Republicans everything they want, with the understanding that other provisions could come later, once GOP lawmakers are satisfied the president isn't a big liar.
Which, of course, will be never -- the standards Republicans will set before they declare our border to be secure will be impossibly high, and Evil Obama will never be doing enough to meet them. Nor, if she wins, will Evil President Hillary Clinton.

Ahhh, but Boehner hired someone who was pro-citizenship back in 2013, so he wanted a better outcome -- no, really! Sorry, I remain skeptical.


Victor said...

It still might, MIGHT, happen this year - AFTER all of the Republican House and Senate primaries are over, so no one can be primaried from the right by an even bigger nativist.

It's in their best interests to do something this year, before Election Day.

But, maybe the party is stating to act like it rube voters - voting against its own interests!

And wouldn't that be just perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brian D. O'Neill said...

The nonsense about "trust" to me is a signal that nothing will happen.

Consider this: "Immigration officials announced last week that President Obama has deported more than 1.9 million people since first taking office, more than any other previous administration."

Nothing the Obama administration does will ever convince the Republicans that he can be "trusted" on border control. The "trust" excuse is just code for blind opposition.

Aunt Snow said...

They Frank-Luntzed over the retreat and came up with the "trust" talking point.