Good News on the “comprehensive immigration bill” front. House Speaker John Boehner will not bring the legislation to the house floor for a vote unless a majority of House Republicans suppoet the measure.
The fear was that Boehner would push through a bill without a thorough examination by combining a few Republicans with a unanimous Democratic vote. Such a bill would probably not have the provisions necessary to seal off the boarder-the required first step to any immigration bill. Without sealing the borders we simply have a replay of the last immigration bill which granted amnesty but did not solve the problem of illegal aliens.
However reported by the National Examiner:
“No way in hell,” is how several described the chances of the speaker acting on such a proposal without a majority of his majority behind him.
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Boehner has long supported an overhaul of U.S. immigration policy and would like the House to act on it before August. But he also understands the issue’s political sensitivity and the impact it could have on Republicans in the 2014 mid-term elections.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., a former pollster aligned with the GOP leadership, said Boehner will not approach to immigration reform the same way he did the fiscal cliff tax bill, or the Violence Against Women Act, which also passed with a minority of the majority.
“I just don’t think that’s the winning formula here,” Cole told The Washington Examiner. “What the speaker wants to do is have a hopefully bipartisan product — certainly one that has the majority of Republicans — pass the House. This has got too much emotional, political impact and I think it really has to be genuinely bipartisan.”
Boehner was blasted for the fiscal cliff compromise which was passed with a GOP minority which is against party rules.
“My goal is always to bring bills to the floor that have a strong Republican majority,” Boehner said. “Immigration reform is a very difficult issue. But I don’t intend to bring an immigration bill to the floor that violates what I and what members of my party — what our principles are.”
The practice of bringing to the floor only bills that are supported by the majority of the majority party has become known as the “Hastert Rule,” named after former Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., who used that standard as a litmus test. Hastert’s successors are free to violate that guideline, as Boehner did on the tax deal, and so conservative activists are now urging House Republicans to incorporate the standard into the body’s internal rules to prevent Boehner or his successors from violating it.
Boehner has so far maintained a commitment to moving immigration reform through “regular order,” delegating authority over much of the process to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. The speaker has acted behind the scenes to keep the process from sputtering, but otherwise prefers to foster member involvement and encourage as many as possible to introduce bills and legislate.
While this remains a very positive step, there is still a long way to go before the bill goes through the house and it is still to be seen if a real protection of our borders is included in any legislation.