The unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act is making it politically difficult for Republicans to tackle immigration reform, says Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, and she questions whether now is even the right time for the GOP to do so.
Rubin, who writes the "Right Turn" column in the Post, told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV that while immigration reform has been a hot topic among conservatives, the current political climate ahead of the midterm elections is preventing any substantive action on the issue.
"In a way, the disaster of Obamacare is making it more difficult for the House to pivot to immigration," Rubin said Tuesday. "What I mean by that is that the atmosphere or the territory right now for Republican is so good that many of them don't want to stop focusing on Obamacare to take up what you rightly call as a very contentious issue."
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With the failures of Obamacare currently serving as a unifying force for the Republican Party as it seeks to regain control of the Senate in November, Rubin said that having Speaker of the House John Boehner say he is "hell-bent" on getting some form of immigration reform passed makes no sense on the surface, but it could make sense depending on the measure he is seeking to pass.
"There are few motivations for actually doing something now," Rubin said. "One is that the president is threatening to go forth unilaterally. He's done that before, we know. One thing that the House could do would be to pass a bill that lays out clearly that their measure and whatever measures they've passed have to be enforced in their totality.
"Secondly, they could go enact the enforcement provision. I think that's what Mike Lee was getting at. There's no reason, for example, why Republicans shouldn't at least pass things that they want: border security, visa overstay, E-verify. They're in the driver's seat right now with anything that's going to be done.
"It's entirely possible that Boehner could bring to the floor and pass a very conservative bill which would get support from most people in the caucus. It's not going to be acceptable to the Senate and it's not going to be acceptable to the president, but it certainly will address the problem that, frankly, Republicans have been raising for a long time, and that is, we have not gotten control of our borders," Rubin said.
"This is an economic issue, this is a national security issue, and there's a certain amount of heat on Republicans for having done nothing in this area."
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