Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, will not bring a comprehensive immigration reform bill up to a vote on the House floor without the nod from a majority of his Republican colleagues.
“’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,” according to The Washington Examiner.
Concern over this issue mounted because Boehner had brought several other bills up to the floor that were eventually approved without a majority GOP vote, most notably, the fiscal cliff legislation on the last day of 2012.
Adding to the concern is the fact that Boehner has long seen the need for a U.S. immigration policy overhaul.
This issue came to a head last week when a group of 70 House Republicans signed a letter addressed to the speaker asking that he not act against the wishes of a majority of his party.
Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Steve King from Iowa and Louie Gohmert of Texas who are serving as spokespersons for the group, sought to put into the play the Hastert Rule, which would require a nod from a majority of the majority party to bring a bill forward.
They now have their answer.
The Examiner’s David Drucker wrote that Boehner,
does not view immigration in the same vein as the fiscal cliff last December, when he backed a bill that protected most Americans from a tax increase even though less than half of the GOP lawmakers were with him, said multiple sources, who spoke anonymously to allow greater candor.
With economists warning that the deep cuts and higher taxes needed to avoid the fiscal cliff could devastate an already ailing economy, Boehner felt compelled to compromise with President Obama and allow taxes to rise on the wealthiest taxpayers. He feels no such urgency about immigration reform, lawmakers said.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., agrees.
“I just don’t think that’s the winning formula here,” he told The 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.”
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham predicted immigration would receive a 70-vote approval in the Senate.
“I think we are going to have a political breakthrough, that Congress is going to pass immigration reform,” he said.
But it’s not going to happen unless the House says it will. And apparently it won’t happen in the House unless a majority of the Republicans say it should.