Is immigration reform doomed in the House?
Reform advocates and Democrats on the Hill are not ready to give up just yet, and they are quietly circulating a new memo that details a list of House Republicans they believe may — may — be gettable in support of reform.
The list and memo, which you can check out right here, is meant as a very broad, and admittedly optimistic, look at the full range of House Republicans whose support should not be completely ruled out just yet.
The idea here is that if Speaker John Boehner does, in the end, allow a vote on the Senate bill, or something else that does contain a path to citizenship, you would need only a few dozen House Republicans to support it for it to pass, since most House Dems would vote for it. Boehner has publicly ruled that out, but there are some grounds for doubting whether a decision has actually been made. From the memo:
If there is a vote on comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship in the House, it will pass with a bipartisan majority. If all but a handful of the House Democrats vote yes, and at least 20 Republicans from the list below come along, reform can easily clear the 218 necessary to pass the lower chamber. Looking at the list of 99 House Republicans below, it’s clear that capturing those 20 or so Republican votes is well within reach. Our target list includes several different groups of Republicans, such as:
* Republicans with growing numbers of Latino and Asian constituents. While redistrictring has temporarily insulated many House Republicans from the “demographic cliff” their party faces if it caters only to white voters, at least 38 Republican members of Congress represent heavily Latino districts — and approximately 25 GOP memberes are in diverse swing districts where the growing Latino, Asian, and immigrant vote is crucial. These include California Republicans Jeff Denham, David Valadao, Gary Miller, Buck McKeon and Devin Nunes; Colorado Republican Mike Coffman; Florida Republicans Mario Diaz-Balart and Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (both of whom are longtime supporters of immigration reform); New York Republicans Peter King and Michael Grimm; and Nevada Republican Joe Heck.
* Republicans with agricultural or high-tech interests in their districts. Both the agriculture and high-tech sectors urgently need immigration reform to secure a 21st Century workforce. Republicans who should support reform for the economic well being of their districts include Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Spencer Bachus, and Sam Johnson, all of whom represent agriculture-heavy districts, and Darrell Issa, whose district includes tech interests.
The memo goes on to list several leading figures in the House GOP who have already backed immigration reform for the long term good of the party, such as Paul Ryan, Greg Walden, and Raul Labrador. The full list is here.
Again: All of this turns on whether Boehner will end up allowing a vote on a measure that lacks the support of a majority of House Republicans, and the memo is intended mainly as a broad assessment of those who should not be taken off the table completely. But the list offers a glimpse of the pols that bear watching — they will be the targets of pressure from both sides — and of a roadmap to possible, though by no means assured, success.