Sen. Chuck Schumer thinks it’s 1963.
The New York Democrat predicted massive demonstrations – a la Martin Luther King Jr. – if the Senate manages to pass an immigration bill but it ends up stymied by House Republicans uneasy about a measure that many conservatives – including major groups like the Heritage Foundation – see as inadequate on the subject of border security and way too lenient in offering a pathway to citizenship.
In a Sunday interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Schumer told host Candy Crowley he expects as many as 70 senators to vote in favor of the immigration bill by the end of the week.
That majority, he said, will push House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to let the bill come to a floor vote.
“I do believe that having a significant number of Republicans will change the dynamic in the House,” Schumer said. “Individual Congress members from red districts, if they see their senators voted for it … there will be huge pressure on Boehner not to block immigration reform.”
And if a large Senate majority doesn’t do it, Schumer said, the size of the demonstrations – reminiscent of King’s March on Washington 50 years ago – will.
“This has the potential of becoming the next major civil rights movement,” Schumer told Crowley. “I could envision in the late summer or early fall if Boehner tries to bottle the bill up or put something in without a path to citizenship … I could see a million people on the Mall in Washington.”
And if that happens, Schumer said, Boehner will have to bring the legislation to a vote even if a majority of Republicans are against it. Enough Democrats and Republicans, he said, will vote for approval.
Check out Schumer’s interview with Crowley here (a lot of it’s devoted to the flight of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden):
HT: The Hill