Rubio: Immigration bill probably won’t pass the House

One of the reasons lawmakers will have a tough time overhauling the nation's immigration laws is all of the different players in the process, and where they have each lined up their pieces, so to speak.

To start with, let's take a look at Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the leading conservative voice for reform.


(Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

On Tuesday, Rubio, the most prominent conservative member of the Senate's "Gang of Eight," said that the bill he helped craft would probably not pass the GOP-controlled House without some tweaks.

“The bill that’s in place right now probably can’t pass the House,” Rubio told conservative radio host Mike Gallagher. “It will have to be adjusted, because people are very suspicious about the willingness of the government to enforce the laws now and in the future."

Rubio was inviting conservatives to offer proposed changes to strengthen the bill instead of trying to sink it altogether. But of course, given all of the different interest groups with a stake in the debate, changes from the right are likely to cause some consternation on the left that could further complicate negotiations.

So what about efforts in the House? Well, if conservatives there get what they want, it's unlikely the Democratic Senate would sign off. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said last week he plans chart a narrower path by introducing several small-scale proposals. Democrats hoping for a broad proposal were instantly alarmed over the idea.

President Obama said in a Tuesday morning news conference that the "Gang of Eight" proposal, which among other things provides a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, is not his ideal bill. But he reiterated that he basically approves of it. As far as an alternative proposal, Obama laid out some pretty specific requirements for what he would and would not get behind.

"'Is it making the border safer? Is it dealing with employers in how they work with the government to make sure that people are not being taken advantage of, or taking advantage of the system? Are we improving our legal immigration system? And are we creating a pathway for citizenship for the 11 million or so who are undocumented in this country," the president said.

In other words, it would have to be pretty broad.

If an alternative to the "Gang of Eight" proposal meets those requirements, the president continued, a compromise could work. "If it doesn’t meet those criteria, then I will not support such a bill. So we’ll have to wait and see," he added.

He's right about the "wait and see" part. Lawmakers in both chambers are at the beginning of the debate, not the end. There is time for yet for these various differences to be worked out. But sometimes more time isn't enough, and certain gaps are too wide to bridge. Advocates of reform are hoping that won't be the case this time around.

Markey versus Gomez in Mass.: Rep. Ed Markey (D) and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez (R) advanced to a special Senate election showdown after winning their respective party nominations in a low-turnout election on Tuesday. Markey begins as a heavy favorite ahead of the June 25 election. Democrats on Tuesday night moved swiftly to cast Gomez as too conservative for the deep blue state, even as he was accused of being insufficiently conservative in the GOP race.

Fixbits:

Investigators found ricin on a dust mask discarded by the man suspected of sending ricin-laced letters to Obama and other public officials.

Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) will not run for the Senate.

The Iowa Democratic Party will release a memo today seeking to stir up trouble on the GOP side of the state's Senate race as Rep. Steve King decides whether he will run. The memo hits King for poor fundraising and a back and forth with Gov. Terry Branstad, among other things.

Larry Flynt endorsed Mark Sanford.

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) has scheduled news conferences for Thursday, stoking speculation he will run for the Senate.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will launch his first TV ad today.

Mitt Romney is opening up about Mormonism.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is making an initial $50,000 investment on a new TV ad pressing Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) to support gun control now that he is retiring from the Senate.

Must-reads: 

"Sen. Kelly Ayotte becomes focus of gun-control groups after voting against background checks" -- Ed O'Keefe, Washington Post

"Cuccinelli’s test: Winning centrists without losing conservatives" -- Paul Schwartzman, Washington Post

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Sean Sullivan | April 30, 2013