The House Republican leadership appears to have given up on passing any immigration reform measure before the end of the year, despite renewed pressure by President Barack Obama and various groups to do something with the 19 days Congress still has left in its current session.
According to Politico
, there seems to be little will among Republican leaders to make the effort after losing the bruising fight over the budget and the government shutdown to the president and Democrats. The leaders are also concerned that divisions within the party would make it almost impossible to get the votes needed to pass any of the various immigration plans circulating among House committees, much less the comprehensive bill passed by the Senate in June.
Republican members are still upset about their defeat in the budget talks, leaving them averse to entering into any negotiations with the president and Democrats whose strategy during the shutdown, they believe, significantly contributed to the party's spike in public disapproval ratings
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a vocal proponent of immigration reform who was instrumental in passing the Senate bill, is now withholding his cooperation because he says the Obama administration has "undermined" negotiations by not defunding Obamacare. Meanwhile, Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador, a key immigration player in the House, says the president is trying to "destroy the Republican Party" and that GOP leaders would be "crazy" to enter into talks with him on immigration reform, according to Politico.
"After Obama poisoned the well in the fiscal showdown and [House Minority Leader Nancy] Pelosi now is actively trying to use immigration as a political weapon, the chances for substantive reforms, unfortunately, seem all but gone," a GOP operative involved in the conservative pro-immigration movement, told Politico.
The president, nonetheless, is increasing the pressure on Congress to pass an immigration reform bill by the end of the year. In remarks at an event with activists on Thursday, he said the House should take forward the bipartisan proposal
passed by the Senate in June.
"It's good for our economy, it's good for our national security, it's good for our people, and we should do it this year," Obama said.
Conservative immigration reform groups and businesses are also trying to convince lawmakers to pass something as soon as possible. Some worry that unless the issue is tackled by the end of this congressional session, progress may be even more unlikely in 2014, an election year.
"I think there are a lot of folks who are concerned about this issue not getting solved, and I think legitimately so," Florida Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart told Politico. "Because I do think that every day that goes by, it makes it more and more difficult."
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