House Speaker John Boehner said recently that he would not allow the House of Representatives to vote on any immigration reform bill that would be conferenced with the bill the Senate passed back in June. “The idea that we’re going to take up a 1,300-page bill that no one had ever read, which is what the Senate did, is not going to happen in the House,” he said. Boy, how do you respond to that evasion of responsibility?
First, it has been five months since the Senate Bill passed, you would think Boehner would have had time to read the bill by now. Or he could have asked a colleague or an aide to take a look at it. If there were problems with the Senate Bill, he could have passed his own version and then worked out the differences in the conference committee that would reconcile the two bills.
Second, he could have done what he said he was going to do over the summer. He could have introduced piecemeal bills covering differing aspects of immigration reform and passed those. With only a half-dozen legislative days left in the year, he has not done that either so far.
Finally, Boehner offered the hope that he would soon hammer out “principles” for immigration reform. A year has gone by since the 2012 election pointed out the political urgency for Republicans of passing meaningful immigration reform and Boehner still doesn’t even know what “principles” of reform he is pursing? Pathetic.
The Republican leaders in the House are now throwing immigration reform into 2014, an election year. Every major immigration reform of my own adult life has occurred during an election year. There are a lot of advantages for Republicans in passing reform within 9 months of the election. It cuts down on the chances that a pro-reform vote will be used as a weapon by a Tea Party candidate against a Republican incumbent in a primary.
This also means that activism for reform should continue unabated in December and be intensified in the new year. Letting Congress and the media know that we are not giving up is vital to immigration reform passing.