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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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Comment Preferences

  •  Yeah right, whatever nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, skillet, Eric Nelson
  •  There will be some poison pill in the House bill (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Eric Nelson

    The House bill will have some insane provision like "shoot the Mexicans before they cross the river," then Obama will say no, and the Party of Gump can try to blame him for killing reform.

    •  doesn't the senate proposal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      have that, with the "border must be secure" 'cause, that's the only way illegal immigration happens.  

      Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

      by jlms qkw on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 01:21:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They clearly misheard Boehner. (4+ / 0-)

    He said the House was closed to immigration reform, not close to it!

  •  Boehner tries to prove hes still actually relevant (0+ / 0-)

    to governing the country. Instead of just to his bartender's IRA.
    Meanwhile, over in the Senate, McCain struggles to prove he's still a really important man, and not just some cranky old coot everyone figures is either off his meds or out of DEPENDS>
    I sense a pattern amongst our Republican 'leadership'.

  •  They are going to tie the "path to citizenship" to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Eric Nelson

    a completely closed border....that will be impossible to achieve.  They will also make "the path" such a hard, long road, that few would ever be able to utilize it.

    It will be "reform", however, so they can sing the praises of all of their hard work and with Rubio as the leading one in the choir.  Believe me, this is being done for that one purpose... to give Rubio a jump start.  It matters not if any good would ever come out of it for the immigrants.

    I wish this had been a first and top priority in 2006 when we could have completed the task.  Oh well, hindsight and all.

  •  Time to "rock n roll"! (0+ / 0-)


    "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.
    I think they may be ready.  

    Now for the dark side of this.  Based upon what is coming from guys like Rubio, and Christie, I smell the the start of a "rope a dope" strategy on issues like immigration, abortion and women's reproductive rights.   Not gun control, though.   I think they finally realize that these "wedge issues" are holding them back, and that they can safely appear to abandon them if it gets them back in power.

    Many hands make light work, but light hearts make heavy work the lightest of all.

    by SpamNunn on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 01:02:37 PM PST

  •  So if we spread some common decency germs there (0+ / 0-)

    might be an outbreak and that would cause Steve King and Louie Gohmert to chew off their limbs? Why didn't someone tell me sooner? I'd bet Steve and Louie would be much mellower as quadriplegics.

    Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

    by tekno2600 on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 01:03:59 PM PST

  •  immigration reform (0+ / 0-)

    "the stupid party" learning its leason on immigration reform is more than my silly opinion that is..

  •  GOP to cooperate? Don't hold your breath... (0+ / 0-)

    Of course we need a path to citizenship for the 10 million undocumented immigrants now in the United States, most of them either young and innocent children or else hard-working laborers already poart of the economic fabric of this country. This last election was partially fought and decided over whether these good folks would be made so miserable as to "self-deport" and flee the land of liberty with the hounds of ICE and the military on their trail. Voters, many of them immigrants themselves, decided against that approach. So Republicans need to understand both that electoral outcome as well as their party's fragile existence if they continue to demonize Hispanics Americans.   -   progressive

  •  Breaking Nooz....Boehner attempts to be relevant. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Oh, damn. I saw this: (0+ / 0-)
                 Support President Obama's path to citizenship.
    And I immediately thought, "Holy shit! Orly Taitz was right!"
  •  Wait and see (0+ / 0-)

    Let's wait and see what they come up with before we judge. I have little faith, but the Republicans in the House should have their opportunity to come up with an immigration bill. I would hope that they take the time to draft a bill with some true and balanced reforms in it.

  •  The closer the House gets to reform, the farther.. (0+ / 0-)

    ..away the actual border "security" trigger gets.

    Average 20 year waiting at "back of line" according to Rachel Maddow (using U.S. Federal immigration Dept. souces) reckoning last week

    There is no way republicans will ever willingly allow ~8 million out of ~11 million new Democratic voters.

    Also too: Nearly All Border Security Targets from 2007 Immigration Bill Have Been Hit - 01/30/2013 at 2:12pm

    Bush’s 2007 immigration bill, which also made legalization contingent on beefed-up border security.
    The border and and the false idea that it needs to be ever better secured is over-hyped and over-politicized.
    Republicans own contingnecies have been met, darn near.

    The GOP seems to believe trying to trick people with a promise but NO delivery will up their % of Latino votes - Not this time imo

    P.S. - "educate" the teabaggers - lol

  •  Enough to make Sisyphus happy with his day job (0+ / 0-)

    Beautiful.  F & F.

  •  "enouth to make Sysiphus happy with his day job." (0+ / 0-)

    Catchy saying of the month award!

    "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.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 07:54:06 PM PST

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