When you are not seriously trying to actually change laws in Congress, you can mess around for quite a long time pretending to do so without losing anything. That seems to be the lesson of the interminable “negotiations” going on among House Republicans over immigration legislation.
Last week, you may recall, after chronic delays, the House voted on the hard-core Goodlatte immigration bill, the stern measure that makes the president’s immigration proposal look benevolent by comparison. There was never any effort to get Democrats onboard; the whole point to the House GOP’s immigration efforts had long become heading off a discharge petition that might have brought Democrats to the table. But the Goodlatte bill lost 41 Republican votes, too, and so didn’t pass.
The House was then supposed to vote on the so-called “compromise” immigration bill that wasn’t a compromise with anyone outside the GOP ranks (Nancy Pelosi called it a “compromise with the devil”), but it was so obviously going to fail that the vote was delayed. Now it’s scheduled for June 27, and guess what? Paul Ryan & Co. still don’t have the votes to send it on to a sure death in the Senate. Here’s Politico’s take:
A last-minute effort to salvage a House GOP immigration bill appeared to flounder Tuesday, amid unyielding opposition from the far right.
Desperate to flip conservative votes, centrist House Republicans offered to add a controversial provision requiring the use of E-Verify, which mandates all companies certify the legal status of their workers.
But it doesn’t look like it will be enough.
According to Roll Call, conservatives want one more concession: a new ban on letting Dreamers sponsor their parents for visas. But it’s unclear any concessions will ever be enough.
The Hill reports that one very influential House conservative isn’t even feigning interest in any “compromise”:
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Tuesday all but waved Republicans off from supporting a compromise immigration bill that is slated for a critical vote on Wednesday.
Speaking on The Hill TV’s “Rising,” Jordan, a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said that the conservative bill introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is the only legislation consistent with what Republicans promised voters in 2016.
So if Goodlatte can’t pass the GOP-controlled House, nothing should be passed at all — which seems to be the point of this entire enterprise.
Some vulnerable Republicans from heavily Hispanic and/or competitive swing districts wanted a less draconian bill they could vote for, and presumably Ryan will give them that chance despite the “compromise” bill’s distorted features and inability to command a majority. But the underlying reality was publicly expressed by President Trump just a few hours after he encouraged House Republicans to vote for Goodlatte and for the “compromise”:
Good luck waiting on that red wave, Republicans.