Monday, June 10, 2013

Policy Investment (or Lack Thereof)

Last week, we discussed new challenges facing comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) as House Republicans nearly blew up the entire Senate CIR bill. And why was that? They voted last week to deport DREAMers. Oh, and Nevada Reps. Joe Heck (R) and Mark Amodei (R) voted for this amendment to deport DREAMers.

Since then, the fate of CIR in Congress took more turns for the bleak. But then, this happened. And for a moment, CIR looked to be back on track.

GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire will support the comprehensive immigration bill drafted by the bipartisan "Gang of Eight," she said Sunday, saying the legislation offers a "tough but fair" path to citizenship for the nation's estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.

"This is a thoughtful bipartisan solution to a tough problem," she said on CBS's Face the Nation. "And so that's why I'm going to support it."

And then, there's this. Also last week, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) looked to be sabotaging (what's supposed to be) his own bill by endorsing Senator John Cornyn's (R-Texas) bullshit "border security" amendment. But today, Senator Harry Reid (D) put the kibosh on it.

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), the author of the provision, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have suggestedthe amendment is important to holding their support for reform. But on Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called their bluff and rejected the measure.

“I will not accept any poison pills,” Reid told Univision. “I mean, we have a senator from Texas, Senator Cornyn, who wants to change border security, a trigger, saying that it has to be a 100 percent border security, or they’ll be no bill. That’s a poison pill. If people have suggestions like they did in the Judiciary Committee to change the bill a little bit, I’ll be happy to take a look at that. But we’re not going to have big changes in this legislation.” [...]

“Cornyn’s amendment is a ‘my way or the highway’ deal and his entire goal is to make the path to citizenship unworkable,” Lynn Tramonte, the deputy director of the pro-reform group America’s Voice, said in an interview. “That’s not an offer, that a strategy to derail the bill and Democrats saw it for what it was.”

On one hand, the Senate CIR bill may not move any further to the right. Yet even as progressives have been forced into many concessions to just move the bill forward, we've yet to see what conservatives are willing to give in return. Remember that when it comes to compromise and passing bills through Congress, both sides have to give.

And we've yet to hear a peep from Senator Dean Heller (R). I wonder why. Just how invested is he in passing immigration reform?

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