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Jewish World Review
Sept. 17, 2013/ 13 Tishrei, 5774
Clock ticking, house immigration reform stuck in neutral
Remember the Gang of Seven? It's the House bipartisan immigration reform working group -- used to be the Gang of Eight before Republican Rep. Raul Labrador quit in frustration -- and it has been rumored for months to be on the verge of releasing a comprehensive reform bill.
It still hasn't happened. And it's unlikely to happen anytime soon.
The group got almost nothing done during the August recess; the members barely kept in touch with each other. And then the concerns some Republican Gang members heard at town hall meetings convinced them that the proposal's security and enforcement measures must be strengthened before GOP colleagues would even consider them.
"What can we do to satisfy our guys that there is going to be border security?" asks one pro-reform Republican. The answer is not clear.
By definition, the GOP Gang members -- Reps. John Carter and Sam Johnson of Texas, plus Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida -- are the Republicans most open to crafting a comprehensive measure. If they can't come up with something that would appeal to more than a handful of their fellow Republicans, then things don't look good.
The job is harder now than it was in the spring. Since the Gang began work, Republican distrust of President Obama, already high, has grown considerably. When GOP lawmakers see the president enforcing parts of Obamacare while ignoring others; when they see him acting unilaterally on issues (the environment is one example) that should be the business of Congress; when they see him threaten to go around lawmakers on questions as diverse as immigration and war in Syria -- all those things make it harder for Republicans to vote for any measure that depends on the president to enforce it. Today, Republicans are even less inclined to go along with Obama than they were in June.
Most of the pressure to produce a bill seems to have disappeared. Recently, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor sent Republican members an agenda for September and October. The House will work on a continuing resolution to fund the government, Cantor said. It will work on a measure to extend the debt limit. On a bill to reform the food stamp system. On Obamacare. And, of course, on Syria.
Only after touching on all those topics did Cantor mention immigration. "The Judiciary and Homeland Security committees have produced a number of specific bills which the House may begin considering this fall," Cantor wrote. "Before we consider any other reforms, it is important that we pass legislation securing our borders and providing enforcement mechanisms to our law enforcement officials."
Look at the qualifiers: The House "may" begin considering some bills -- then again, maybe not -- but it must actually pass border security and enforcement measures before any other proposals can even be taken up. Cantor left himself room to do anything, but plenty of reason to do nothing.
Then there's the problem of time. The House will of course be involved in whatever happens in Syria, but much more time-consuming will be the fight over a funding resolution. Republicans are deeply divided about it -- Speaker John Boehner and Cantor had to retreat from a proposed continuing resolution this week in the face of conservative opposition. Finding a way forward will take time. And that's before the House gets to the question of the debt limit.
Given all that, Cantor indicated the House might cancel a recess scheduled for the week of Sept. 23. That will give lawmakers a little more breathing room.
But even if the House had all the time in the world, and an absolutely empty calendar, immigration reform would still be in deep, deep trouble. It's not failing because Congress doesn't have time to do it. It's failing because Congress cannot agree on how to do it.
As reform supporters envisioned it, this was to be the moment Washington debated an immigration bill widely seen as the signature achievement of President Obama's second term. Now, it's going nowhere fast. The president is distracted. And those Republicans who believe a Senate-style comprehensive reform measure is essential to improving the GOP's prospects with Hispanic voters are now a mostly silent minority.
Immigration reform will not disappear as an issue; its advocates in both parties are organized, well-funded, and determined. But the energy that just a few months ago seemed to be pushing reform inexorably ahead now appears completely dissipated. And there seems little chance it will come back, at least this year.
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09/10/13 How do we tell good guys from bad in Syrian opposition?
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08/20/13 Fractured GOP struggles to expose Obama's weakness
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08/06/13 Libs gear up for ObamaCare fight
07/30/13 Are Republicans fooling themselves about ObamaCare?
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07/02/13 Rubio's immigration strategy worked brilliantly, but disappointed many
06/25/13 Rise in illegal crossing roils immigration debate
06/18/13 Immigration debate is all about border security
06/11/13 On judges, Obama tells GOP: Don't do unto me as I did unto you
06/03/13 Looking to 2016, Iowa GOP gets excited about Walker
05/28/13 What is the real number of illegal border crossings?
05/21/13 Immigration fight moves to house with deep divide
05/14/13 Senate skips details in rush to pass immigration bill
05/07/13 Winning Hispanic vote won't be enough for GOP
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04/14/13 New data on border crossings could change immigration debate
04/09/13 Will immigration reform kill Rubio's presidential chances?
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03/19/13 Don't blame campaign aides for GOP's woes
03/12/13 Obama resists simple fixes for sequestration cuts
03/05/13 Obama vowed to break GOP fever --- but have they broken his?
02/26/13 Budget hawks question doomsday scenarios
02/12/13 Legalization-first could scuttle immigration plan
02/05/13 GOP aims to ease bloodshed in 2016 primary debates
01/29/13 In some GOP circles, reform is already underway
01/22/13 Once a critic of deficits, Obama now goes for broke
01/15/13 Yes, defense spending should be cut --- in the right way
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12/26/12 Anxiety rises as Americans face start of ObamaCare
12/18/12 Get ready for the costs and chaos of Obamacare
12/11/12 Obama ups bid as GOP looks for way out of crisis
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11/20/12 Governors take power as balance shifts inside GOP
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10/03/12 Obama's problems multiply as GOP frets over Romney
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07/03/12 Roberts' dodge at heart of ObamaCare decision
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06/19/12 Obama suffers amnesia about first year as president
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09/20/11 Obama plagued by Dems' ingratitude
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08/16/11 Michele Bachmann and the submissive question
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07/12/11 Controversial budget law begins to pay off
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05/24/11 Eye-for-an-eye filibuster stops Democratic nominee
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04/05/11 Jihadis Who Killed Americans Get U.S. Support in Libya
04/04/11 Unions deploy money and muscle in Battle of Wisconsin
03/30/11 Labor fight in Wisconsin is far from over
03/28/11 Obama fails to grasp the gravity of going to war
03/21/11 Union equates lavish benefits to black civil rights
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02/22/11 In Hawaii, a dispiriting glimpse of one-party rule
02/21/11 Obama team uses slippery words to tout budget
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04/19/10 Who wins in 2010? Good luck reading tea leaves
04/12/10 GOP Obamacare strategy: Try repeal, then cut
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03/16/10 Marco Rubio and the Republicans who love him
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03/08/10 Dems turn risky health vote into manhood contest
03/01/10 Why Obama defies the public on health care
02/22/10 South Carolina mulls 2012: Romney? Palin? Huck?
02/16/10 GOP winning war over Miranda rights for terrorists
02/09/10 Who are the 300 terrorists held in U.S. prisons?
02/02/10 Is Obama dissatisfied with being president?
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01/05/10 GOP deserves blame for Democratic excesses
12/29/09 Dems' dreams of a blue West begin to turn red
12/22/09 Why Dems push health care, even if it kills them
11/30/09 Dems' kamikaze mission: Health care by New Year's
11/23/09 Why it's a mistake to bring Gitmo prisoners here
11/16/09 Dems' slick fix: $210 billion of fiscal restraint
11/10/09 Obama can't be community organizer for the world
11/02/09 At key moment, Obama leaves health post unfilled
10/26/09 Fierce urgency' for jobs, not health care
10/12/09 Facts hurt Jennings in youth sex controversy
10/05/09 Amid terror threat, Dems chip away at Patriot Act
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09/21/09 Under fire, Democrats abandon ACORN in drove
09/14/09 Dems stifle Republican health care plans
09/08/09 For Dems, a serious Charlie Rangel problem
09/07/09 Obama's speech: Wrong setting for a sales job
09/01/09 What happened to the antiwar movement?
08/24/09 Why Dems may jam through health care plan
08/17/09 GOP thinks the unthinkable: Victory in 2010
08/10/09 The empty words of a journalist turned flack
08/03/09 Probe finds new clues in AmeriCorps IG scandal
07/27/09 Obamacare haunted by unkept promises of stimulus
07/20/09 Why the GOP failed the Sotomayor test
07/13/09 What the GOPers will ask Sotomayor
06/29/09 Serious questions remain for Mark Sanford
06/22/09 How GOPers can crack the AmeriCorps scandal
06/16/09 Worried about Sotomayor? Consider Andre Davis
06/08/09 Can Mitch Daniels save the GOP?
06/01/09 When the Dems derailed a Latino nominee
05/26/09 Why the GOP will defeat Obama on healthcare
05/19/09 Rosy report can't hide stimulus problems
05/12/09 The Reagan legacy is the man himself
05/05/09 Sen. Specter, meet your new friends
04/27/09 Ted Olson: ‘Torture' probes will never end
04/20/09 Who's Laughing at the Axis of Evil today?
04/14/09 Congress needs Google to track stimulus money
04/06/09 Beyond AIG: A bill to let Big Government set your salary
03/30/09 On Spending and the Deficit, McCain Was Right
03/24/09 It's Obama's crisis now
03/17/09: Geithner-Obama economics: A joke that's not funny
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