Mitch McConnell, speaking to reporters today, was asked for the Senate GOP position on Obama’s immigration announcement. He kicked the ball back into Mitt Romney’s court (transcript per McConnell’s office):
“Both the presidential candidates, both the incumbent and the challenger, are going to be addressing this issue Thursday at an important meeting of Hispanic-Americans. I think most of my members are interested in learning what Governor Romney has to say about this issue, and we’re going to withhold judgment, most of us, until that time....
“I think we’re going to wait and see what Governor Romney has to say, and then our members are going to be discussing his views on this, and I think many of them will have similar views.”
Romney has had four days to take a position on Obama’s new policy, so hopefully by the end of this week, he'll have given fellow Republicans the guidance they’re looking for.
Even as McConnell is signaling that the party will wait for Romney’s direction on the issue, however, a handful of House Republicans are moving forward by introducing bills that would block enforcement of Obama’s new policy.
All of which raises a few questions. Can Republicans leaders possibly want any bills to be on the table that would reverse Obama’s order? Sure, Republicans are hammering Obama’s move on process grounds, but it seems likely that Republicans only want this debate to go away.
Now that McConnell has signaled that Republicans are waiting for Romney to clarify his position on Obama’s order, will it put more pressure on him to do so in any meaningful sense? It seems likely that Romney will continue making a process argument against the move, even as he signals more clearly than before that he supports the general goals of the policy. If he does this, will the House Republicans who want to undo the policy really drop their push? Will the GOP leadership allow their measures to proceed? Will Republicans who have railed against the move on process grounds in recent days — and are looking to support their presidential nominee — echo Romney’s expected quasi-support for it? This is going to get a lot more interesting.