PolitiHacks Digest – 1 July 2013 – Immigration’s Senate success and House troubles ahead

The Senate voted 68-32 on Thursday to successfully pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Now, as eyes turn to the House, here’s the state of play:

  1. A bipartisan group of Representatives has shrunk by one as conservative Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) withdrew early in June, leaving a Gang of Seven
  2. Reports are that health care benefits are the primary remaining sticking point
  3. Republican House Speaker John Boehner is pledging to only move bills that have a support of a majority of his party (234 → 118)
  4. Republican House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte is moving piecemeal immigration bills through the committee, including a border security bill and a high-skilled immigration bill, as well as a bill specifically focusing on employee verification.
  5. Democrats insist that the package of bills include a process for undocumented immigrants (~11M in the country by best estimate) to eventually become citizens, which many Republicans oppose

Here’s what we can pick out from the Senate vote:

  1. Traditional Republican areas voted against the bill (South, Great Plains, Mountain West)
  2. States represented by a split of a Republican and Democratic Senator saw a number of no-yes split votes, respectively
  3. Senate Republican leadership voted en masse against the bill—Leader McConnell (R-KY), Whip Cornyn (R-TX), Conference Chair Thune (R-SD), Vice-Conference Chair Blunt (R-MO), Campaign Chair Moran (R-KS), and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Grassley (R-IA)—giving cover for Republican Majority leadership to oppose the Senate bill
  4. Senate Republicans voted against the bill 14-32, meaning that an approximate percentage of House Republicans in support would give a majority of the House (201 Democrats + 71 Republicans) in favor of a comprehensive bill, if it were to be allowed to come to a vote—a gross oversimplificiation

We can expect that House Judiciary Chair Goodlatte (R-VA, Roanoke) will continue his progression of piecemeal bills through the House, though none will include a specific process for undocumented immigrants to become citizens, instead only allowing legal work status without a possibility of becoming a citizen. That will likely be a deal-breaker for Democrats.

The question is whether or not Democrats can get a bill they’re happy with to a final vote, as it’s got decent odds of passing. We might see the discharge petition used as a lever to accomplish this goal, which is rare.

Alternatively, Republicans pass a series of immigration bills and head to a Senate-House conference to iron out the differences. Assuming Democrats succeed in conference in insisting on many of the Senate details, the House response to a final conference report that a majority of the majority is unhappy with will be very interesting.

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One Response to PolitiHacks Digest – 1 July 2013 – Immigration’s Senate success and House troubles ahead

  1. Pingback: PolitiHacks Digest – 1 July 2013 – Immigration reform, startup visa passes the Senate, what’s next? | PolitiHacks

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