Obama Immigration-Reform Campaign Will Challenge House GOP

Image: Obama Immigration-Reform Campaign Will Challenge House GOP

Monday, 08 Jul 2013 09:52 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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President Barack Obama is heading to some of the battleground states he won in November — with strong Latino support — in an attempt to push immigration-reform legislation through the Republican-controlled House.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Obama is planning trips to Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, and Florida to make the case that Republican presidential aspirations may be tied to the bill's fate.

It’s the same argument that several potential GOP 2016 candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, are pushing as they try to convince lawmakers they need to do more to attract the growing Latino vote.

Still, many Republican lawmakers remain hesitant about fully committing to immigration reform because of the 2014 mid-term elections. Tea party opposition, for instance, is growing against Senate Republicans who voted in favor of the comprehensive immigration-reform bill.

Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Marco Rubio of Florida, leaders of the overhaul effort in the Senate, are almost certain to face repercussions as tea party followers and other anti-reform groups try to paint them as out of touch with conservative values.

Obama's immigration push is coming at a time when his political clout has taken some serious hits, reports The Washington Post, and some say his strategy of talking it up in key Latino strongholds could jeopardize efforts to pass an overhaul in the House if his tone is viewed as too partisan.

Obama kept mostly quiet on the issue as it worked its way through the Democratic-controlled Senate. But the bill faces much-stronger opposition in the House, where Republican Speaker John Boehner has said he won't allow a vote on an immigrating overhaul bill without the support of a majority of Republicans. He plans to meet with the GOP conference on Wednesday, an aide told the Post.

Obama's reform-passage campaign will not target specific Republican House members, but will focus on "areas that Republicans hope to do better in and need to do better in" in future elections, a White House official said.

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