Tomorrow, the House GOP is set to vote on its plan for the border crisis. It significantly scales back the funding Obama wants and focuses more on security than on humanitarian goals, and includes changes to the 2008 trafficking law to expedite deportations.
Yet it’s unclear whether even this bill can pass the House, because conservatives such as Ted Cruz, Steve King, and Jeff Sessions are demanding that the measure include language blocking Obama’s program to defer deportation of the DREAMers. The Heritage Foundation has come out against the GOP proposal for the same reason, further dimming chances of passage.
GOP leaders are resisting the inclusion of such language. But it needs to be stated once again that Cruz, King, and Sessions are not outliers in this debate. Broadly speaking, their position on this crisis — and on immigration in general – is the GOP position writ large.
Republican leaders don’t want to include any measure against Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in the current border plan because the politics are terrible. That would entail responding to a crisis involving migrating minors not just by expediting deportations (which the current GOP bill would do), but also by calling for still more deportations from the interior. But the GOP leadership’s position is only that they don’t want any anti-DACA language in their current response to the crisis. The GOP position writ large is still that we should deport all the DREAMers, block Obama from any further executive action to ease deportations, and not act in any way to legalize the 11 million.
Remember: The House GOP already voted last year to end DACA. Meanwhile, Republicans are preparing to cast any future Obama action to ease deportations, no matter what it is, as out-of-control lawlessness and executive overreach, which is functionally equivalent to calling for maximum deportations from the interior. And they are heaping outright derision on the mere suggestion by Democrats that perhaps this crisis should be an occasion to revisit broader reform — yet another reminder that they won’t act to legalize the 11 million under any circumstances. So how, exactly, is this collection of positions, broadly speaking, any different from those of Cruz, King, Sessions, et. al.?
Republicans appear to know their broader position on immigration is getting, if anything, less and less tenable when it comes to Latino outreach. As Jamelle Bouie notes in a good piece, Republicans are abandoning their post-2012 plans, outlined in that RNC autopsy, to embrace immigration reform, instead looking to other issues to boost Latino appeal. But as Bouie notes:
The Republican Party’s original analysis was correct. After the RNC released its report, Latino Decisions published a poll on Hispanics, immigration reform, and the GOP. Among all Hispanics, 32 percent were more likely to vote Republican in the future if comprehensive immigration reform passed. What’s more, a later Latino Decisions poll —this time of Latino registered voters — found that 61 percent would be more likely to listen to Republicans on issues like taxes or school choice if the party supported reform.
…there are no shortcuts to building respect and goodwill. If Republicans want more than a rump share of Latino voters, they’ll need to shift on immigration reform. Otherwise, they should expect Latinos to meet them with a “closed door.”
Dems face serious peril in this current crisis, and Senate Democrats are internally divided over the border as well. House Republicans very well may pass something. But if so, it will be mainly focused on speeding up deportations and militarizing the border — in short, things that are already in the GOP’s immigration comfort zone. And so while punting on the border crisis would make things worse, even passing something won’t alter the larger dynamic at this point.
* ECONOMY POISED TO RECOVER? Some good news:
U.S. economic growth accelerated more than expected in the second quarter and the decline in output in the prior period was less steep than previously reported, which could bolster views for a stronger performance in the last six months of the year. Gross domestic product expanded at a 4.0 percent annual rate as activity picked up broadly…
And Senate Dem incumbents exhale, at least a bit…
* RED STATE DEMS BALK AT OBAMA EXECUTIVE ACTION: The Hill reports that two vulnerable red state Democratic incumbents — Kay Hagan and Mark Pryor — are signaling likely opposition to any Obama unilateral action to ease deportations. As some Dem strategists have noted, the politics of this are probably mixed — while it will give Republicans ammo to make their 2014 campaign argument against #ObummerLawlessness, that may appeal only to GOP base voters already enraged about Obama, while energizing Democrats.
We may see more red state Dems balking, perhaps partly because it’s an easy way to achieve distance from the president on turf where he’s deeply unpopular.
* REMINDER: AMERICANS STILL SUPPORT LEGALIZATION: Republican operatives are excited by a new Associated Poll showing a rise in the percentage of Americans who see illegal immigration as a serious issue. But the same poll finds that a majority still support a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants — even as the current border crisis has perversely made Republicans even less willing to support action on the broader crisis we face (which they’ve been unwilling to move on because they can’t accept legalization).
* YUP, GOP IS TO BLAME ON IMMIGRATION: Ruth Marcus, responding to Ted Cruz’ inane suggestion that Dems are to blame for immigration reform failure, explains clearly and unequivocally why inaction is — yup — all the GOP’s fault:
The Senate in which Cruz serves passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill, 68 to 32. Cruz, unsurprisingly, didn’t vote for it, but 14 of his Republican colleagues did. The measure went to the House, where it would pass by a majority vote — if it were allowed to come to the floor. Thirteen months later, this hasn’t happened, nor will it. Remind me: Who hasn’t demonstrated an interest in solving the immigration problem?
This is the basic history that the both-sides-to-blame pundits simply refuse to acknowledge.
* GRIMES CRANKS UP ATTACKS ON McCONNELL OVER WOMEN: CNN reports that Alison Lundergan Grimes will air a new ad that opens a fresh offensive against Mitch McConnell in the battle for female voters:
In this ad, Kentucky resident Illene Woods asks why he voted “two times against the Violence Against Women Act…and against enforcing equal pay for women?” After a long pause, Grimes, sitting with Woods in a yard outside a white home, says, “I can never get him to answer this one, either.” Grimes then says McConnell must be forgetting that over half of Kentucky voters are women.
Worth noting: The battle for the female vote in Kentucky, which could prove pivotal, has a major economic component, with Grimes emphasizing both equal pay and the minimum wage as issues designed to motivate them. The new ad is here.
* OBAMA GETS BAD MARKS ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS: A new Post poll finds only 39 percent approve of Obama’s handling of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and his numbers on international affairs are 46-50. However, Obama is doing somewhat better on his handling of the latest Ukraine crisis, 46-43, despite of months of attacks on his “weak” approach to the turmoil there.
* AND OBAMACARE CONTINUES FAILING TO FAIL: Bloomberg’s Alex Wayne brings the latest:
HCA Holdings Inc., the largest for-profit hospital chain, yesterday reported a 6.6 percent drop for the year in uninsured patients at its 165 hospitals, a reduction that grows to 48 percent in four states that expanded Medicaid, a major initiative of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. HCA and LifePoint Hospitals Inc., another for-profit chain, raised their forecasts this month while the largest insurer, UnitedHealth Group Inc., said it added 635,000 people to its Medicaid plans and was expanding into as many as two dozen exchanges in 2015, from five this year.
Whatever. #Obummercare #CronyCapitalism #Socialism #DeathPanels #GruberSmokingGun #MumbleMumble