No means no, people.
That seems to be the message from House Speaker John Boehner, after the Review-Journal reported on Thursday that a top adviser to President Barack Obama said there was a “commitment” to bring the issue to the floor sometime after contentious House primaries.
In that story, the R-J’s Laura Myers wrote:
Jarrett believes Boehner will allow a comprehensive immigration reform bill, or a package of bills, to come up for a vote after the primary election to avoid spoiling some GOP candidates’ chances.
“I think we have a window this summer, between now and August, to get something done,” Jarrett said. “We have a commitment from Speaker Boehner, who’s very frustrated with his caucus.”
“We haven’t been able to find that many people who aren’t in support of it,” Jarrett said, adding that vote counters in Congress say immigration reform would easily pass the GOP-led House. “This is an opportunity that we should seize. … The Senate bill would pass today in the House.”
Jarrett said the White House doesn’t care if immigration reform is accomplished in one bill or multiple bills, which is preferred by Republicans leery of omnibus legislation.
“There’s a lot of ways to skin a cat,” Jarrett said. “I feel very encouraged about immigration reform. I think you’re going to see mounting pressure.”
But Boehner’s staff weighed in quickly to say it’s not so. According to Politico:
Michael Steel, a spokesman for the Ohio Republican, said Boehner has not made a commitment to the White House.
“Republicans are committed to reforming our immigration system, but as the speaker has said repeatedly, it’s difficult to see how we make progress until the American people have faith that President Obama will enforce the law as written,” Steel said in an email.
So, what’s really going to happen? If I had to guess, I’d say the odds are against it. Why? Consider the ENLIST Act, a modified version of the DREAM Act. It’s been introduced by a Republican California House member, Jeff Denham, who represents a 40 percent Latino district. It would offer a pathway to citizenship for immigrants brought here at a young age by their families who serve honorably in the U.S. military. It’s got bi-partisan support, too. (Nevada Republicans Mark Amodei and Joe Heck are co-sponsors.)
If ever there was a bill to appeal to Republicans, this is it: Republican sponsor. Vulnerable district. Bi-partisan bill. Military service. Appeal to an ethnic group that the Republican Party needs badly to attract for its long-term success.
Denham’s own leadership has indicated it will block even the ENLIST Act from coming to a vote on the floor, or being amended into the defense spending bill. And if that bill doesn’t capture the fancy of House leaders, what bill would?
Yes, things could change after primary elections. But it’s not looking good.