* Harry Reid, on the Senate floor today, needled John Boehner by referencing the fact that the Speaker has refused to rule out passing immigration reform mostly with Dem votes:
“The truth is, the Speaker needs Democratic votes to pass any bill that has a chance of becoming law. That’s a fact. That’s a lot for him to acknowledge, but his statement today is a step in the right direction.”
Boehner made that concession in an interview this morning with ABC News; Reid’s point is that no watered down immigration reform that passes the House without Dems can pass the Dem-controlled Senate.
* Immigration reform continues advancing as the Senate overwhelmingly votes to allow it to move forward procedurally, with the exception of 15 Republican Senators who don’t even want the topic debated. Naturally, Ted Cruz is among the 15.
* Jennifer Rubin, referencing the above 84-15 vote, comments:
We are seeing those who want a better bill separated from those who oppose any increase in immigration…We got a whiff today that at least among senators, who must generally cater to a cross section of voters, the anti-immigration reform voices are disproportionately represented on mainstream and conservative blogs, radio and TV.
* Good stuff from Francis Wilkinson: The immigration debate will decide once and for all whether the destructive and nihilistic wing of the GOP is in control, and whether the party overall is in the grip of a demographic death wish.
* I’ve been speculating for awhile that scandal-palooza might distract the right just enough to allow immigration reform to sneak through. Turns out diehard reform opponent Mickey Kaus agrees, and is calling on the armies to wake up before it’s too late.
* Markos Moulitsas runs the demographic numbers, and concludes: “Republicans either support immigration reform, or they can kiss Texas goodbye.”
* Senator Cruz admits immigration reform will pass the Senate, but hopes House Republicans will kill it. Steve Benen gets it right in detailing just how much pressure will be brought to bear on the House GOP leadership to let it pass, even with mostly Dems.
* House GOP investigations ringleader Darrell Issa is under pressure from Dems to release full transcripts of testimony from IRS scandal witnesses, which Dems say will prove Issa has selectively leaked to falsely implicate the White House.
But today Issa gave his answer: Releasing the full transcripts would be “reckless” while the full investigation remains active. Yet selective releasing of partial snippets is okay…
* Meanwhile, it turns out senior GOP Rep. Charles Boustany wants those transcripts released, too: “I really am concerned that it could tip this into the political realm rather than a true detailed investigation to get the facts out.” That’s already happened!
* An interesting move by the ACLU: It is suing the Obama administration over the NSA’s collection of phone records — only it’s suing in its capacity as a Verizon customer, to give itself “standing” as a personally affected party.
* Fred Kaplan calls on Obama to fire Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for falsely telling Congress that data were not collected on millions of Americans. It won’t happen, but here again we’re seeing the perils of lack of transparency.
* And the headline of the day: I linked this New York Times piece on the lack of debate over NSA overreach earlier today, but I neglected to note the hed, which says it all:
Debate on Secret Data Looks Unlikely, Partly Due to Secrecy
Of course, Congress could start by supporting the bipartisan bill to declassify FISA court opinions justifying NSA records-collection.