House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's newest campaign strategy of emphasizing his opposition to President Barack Obama's immigration bill, is drawing contempt from critics, including his primary challenger Dave Brat.
Cantor "stopped the bill when it came out of the Senate," his campaign manager, Ray Allen, told The Daily Caller
, saying that the campaign won't be backing down from the strategy.
But Brat, an economist, and his campaign say Cantor "is scared."
"He's realizing that voters in his district are overwhelmingly against [immigration reform], and all of a sudden, he says he's against amnesty," said Zachary Werrell, Brat's campaign manager.
Allen said that district voters "are not going to fall for these outright lies that Brat is selling," according to the Daily Caller.
Cantor said "immigration reform" was a top priority for 2013, Werrell said, but now "he’s realizing that voters in his district are overwhelmingly against it, and all of a sudden, he’s saying he’s against amnesty."
The immigration bill that passed the Senate last year included a path for citizenship for an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. Business groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
, want Congress to pass an immigration reform bill.
Some conservatives oppose any immigration legislation that contains a path to citizenship, saying it amounts to amnesty.
Cantor "is a man who has spent the entire year pushing for ...amnesty," Daniel Horowitz, policy director for the Madison Project, wrote in a commentary at RedState.com
. "Yet he has the impertinence to tell his constituents that he is standing up to Obama."
Allen said that Brat knows Cantor has blocked several other immigration plans, including bills to enlist illegal immigrants into the military while American soldiers are forced out, and bills to allow amnesty and citizenship for young children brought to the United States.
The plans, Allen said, are "something that reasonable people should be able to discuss and reach consensus on without leaping from there to a blanket amnesty."
But Brat disagrees.
"Cantor’s big money donors are now helping him pretend that he’s against amnesty — even though he’s been the No. 1 force in the House cheerleading amnesty and demanding citizenship for illegals," Brat said in a statement.
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