As for Speaker John Boehner, those familiar with his thinking tell Right Turn that he still supports taking up discrete immigration issues (border security, internal enforcement, visas, undocumented etc.) for debate and passage. This has been his position for some time. Whether the Senate will be willing to break up its bill into separate legislative chunks (passed in succession) is an open question, but Boehner is not going to engage on one massive bill. As for the prospects of those separate bills getting through this year, House leadership is realistic that months have now been chewed up on the shutdown and Obamacare.
Boehner and other Republicans nevertheless maintain that whether taken up in December or after the first of the year, something will come out of the House. Politico quoted Boehner yesterday as saying, “I’ve made it clear since the day after the election that it’s time to get this done.” His spokesman clarified, according to the report, that he was referring to his “taking up reform with a collection of bills, not a sweeping comprehensive bill like the Senate passed in June.”?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /
From my vantage point, there really isn’t time in the next month and a half to get immigration done. But immigration reform opponents are mistaken if they think the issue is dead as of December 31. Immigration reform is still doable, albeit not in as sweeping a fashion as the Senate bill attempted.
In fact, I would argue that with the president on the ropes and anxious for something other than scandal, defeat and chaos, he and the Democrats might be willing to deal in ways they weren’t earlier this year. A pro-immigration reform GOP senator with whom I spoke a couple of weeks ago said he was more optimistic lately that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the president could deal with Republicans on something other than, as he put it, a “special path to citizenship.” (“Special” here is the variable.) I would add that with the bruising taken by the far-right in the shutdown and Nov. elections and the re-engagement of Main Street Republicans (evidence by today’s press conference), the House may have more votes for immigration reform than before the disastrous shutdown.
In any event, immigration reform didn’t die yesterday. It continues to limp along just has it has for the last few months.