Democrats refocus on immigration bill
WASHINGTON — President Obama and his Democratic allies are using the momentum from reopening government to renew their attempts to persuade House Republicans to support a comprehensive immigration reform bill by the end of the year.
“Let's start the negotiations,” Obama said on Thursday. “But let's not leave this problem to keep festering for another year or two years or three years.”
With Democrats convinced that they have the GOP on the defensive, the president cited the passage of an immigration bill, along with securing a long-term budget and a farm bill, as top priorities over the next three months.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., also place immigration atop the Democratic agenda for the remainder of the year.
But it's not clear that GOP lawmakers, who took the brunt of public blame for the 16-day shutdown, will be forced to the negotiating table.
Some key Republicans said this week that Obama's hard-line position during the fiscal talks, in which he refused to negotiate, had further damaged his credibility with a caucus skeptical of his agenda.
Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, told a conservative audience on Wednesday that “it would be crazy for the House Republican leadership to enter into negotiations with him on immigration.”
Labrador, who dropped out of a bipartisan House effort last spring to strike a comprehensive immigration deal, added: “Anything we negotiate right now with the president on immigration will be with that same goal in mind, which is to destroy the Republican Party.”
House GOP leaders remained largely silent on the issue on Thursday. A spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he “remains committed to a common-sense, step-by-step approach that ensures we get immigration reform done right.”
Boehner has said the House will not support a bipartisan plan approved by the Senate in June that features a 13-year path to citizenship for the nation's 12 million undocumented immigrants.
Instead, House leadership has said it is pursuing a series of smaller-scale bills, a tactic that immigration advocates view as a cloaked attempt to kill any momentum for a deal.
One key question is how the fiscal standoff and its aftermath might effect Boehner's approach to immigration.
On one hand, immigration advocates said, Boehner has appeared to emerge with more respect from the conservative bloc of the GOP caucus long skeptical of his willingness to take on the White House. That could embolden him to push for a broader set of immigration proposals that could result in a conference with the Senate.
On the other hand, Boehner was forced to bring a short-term spending plan to the House floor late Wednesday that was approved with mostly Democratic support — a move the speaker acknowledged was a political loss for his party. That could make him fearful of pursuing a vote on an immigration plan that also would likely depend heavily on Democrats.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ghostly snailfish found at record depth
- Gray wolf decision reversed
- Mice injected with patients’ tumors personalize cancer testing
- New York move to ban fracking heartens critics
- Harvard study bolsters link between pollution, autism
- Smoking, drinking falls off among teens, but not drug use
- FBI’s 2001 anthrax attack investigation questioned