Yesterday the Senate immigration reform bill passed 68 to 32, picking up all Democrats and 14 Republicans. Now it will move to the house where it will be largely ignored while the Republicans slowly come up with their own piece meal version, if they come up with anything at all.
In my previous post I suggested a long shot scenario in which Speaker John Boehner would bring the Senate bill up for a vote in the House, but I’m upping my odds to 40-to-1 as he holds steadfast to the notion he won’t bring up a bill that lacks the support of over 50% of his caucus, which the Senate bill will never get.
Sooooo…..like soooo many other things in congress, the bill will dilly dally until who knows when, perhaps for months as Congress adjourns in August and then in September they will be back to battling issues of a budget extension and raising the debt ceiling. The ongoing tug-of-war that gets us nowhere when it comes to our fiscal problems.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about immigration reform is the split between those 14 Republican Senators and the Republican majority in the House, one of many indications of a fractured party.
Those 14 reflect the belief that the Republicans cannot win a national election without shifting the balance of Hispanic votes away from the 70% level that voted for Obama. Those Republicans who oppose immigration reform are largely a combination of those whose careers are insured by Gerrymandered districts as long as they don’t look at all liberal, and/or out of the belief that enabling more illegal residents to become citizens will likely produce even more voters for Democrats.
It is one of several splits within the Republican Party that make it difficult for them to come up with a coherent message at the national level and produces a tightrope for Republican presidential candidates to walk, pressured to be more main stream in terms of the general election, but sufficiently conservative in the primaries to receive the nomination.
A topic we will return to at a later time.