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U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 28, 2012. Boehner voiced optimism that Republicans could broker a deal with the White House to avoid year-end austerity measures, saying on Wedn
"And we're also meeting in secret to try to get Steve King to shut up. That's been less successful."
Color me very, very skeptical on this one. The Senate may have a gang of senators willing, finally, to tackle serious immigration reform, but that doesn't mean the House is just going to sit on their hands. Nope, says Boehner; there's a secret group of "reformers" in the House that are also working on immigration reform, and according to anonymous somebodies they're farther along in drafting actual legislation than the Senate—they're trying to get their bill written before the State of the Union address, in fact.

If you have the feeling that somebody's trying to sell you a bridge, however, you may not be far off:

Unlike the more public Senate effort, the House immigration working group has toiled in secret for nearly four years, and its members have tried -— with mixed success — to maintain its cloak-and-dagger aura since Boehner touted its progress in a private Jan. 22 speech that The Hill detailed last week. […]

Sources confirmed the other core members [aside from Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart - R] of the House group as Democratic Reps. Luis Gutierrez (Ill.), Xavier Becerra (Calif.) and Zoe Lofgren (Calif.), and Republican Reps. John Carter (Texas) and Sam Johnson (Texas).

So for four years, there's been a "secret" group of lawmakers working on "immigration reform," and their grand reported progress to date has been a very secret bupkis, but now they're close? While I appreciate the efforts of a half-dozen congresscritters to secretly do actual work, I think perhaps Boehner may be overselling this. And here's a big reason why:
The new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), signaled in an interview that the panel would move at a deliberate pace on immigration, in part because Republican leaders need to educate more than 100 first- and second-term members who Goodlatte said “know very little” about the complexities of immigration law.
"Educating" 100-plus members of the Republican caucus as to what the hell they are talking about, when it comes to immigration, is enough to make Sisyphus happy with his day job. As for Goodlatte, whose name suggests a missed calling as a perfectly content hipster, he's taking a go-slow approach: The Hill quotes him as saying, "I don't view it as a race. I view it as getting it right." And any supposedly bipartisan agreement secretly hashed out by sensible people has to make it not just past Goodlatte, but past a House Judiciary Committee staffed with Republican crackpot flotsam like Reps. Steve King and Louie Gohmert, people who would sooner chew their own limbs off than vote for anything smacking of common decency, much less "amnesty."

So I'm thinking that any secret House legislative proposals will either be (1) so watered down as to be pointless or (2) stabbed repeatedly with kitchen knives as soon as the House Judiciary Committee gets a whiff of it. I understand why Boehner and unspecified-other-source want to head off any Senate proposal with legislation of their own, but this is a team that can't agree amongst itself whether to keep the government running, on a monthly basis. Them telling us that they're pretty darn close a proposal for comprehensive immigration reform, of all things, sounds a bit like a kid shouting "Watch this!" while standing on his house's roof with cardboard wings taped to his arms. Good luck with that, fellas.

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