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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
Speaker John Boehner
As comprehensive immigration reform moves to the full Senate, one of the big questions involved in actually making it law is what the Republican-controlled House will do. Speaker John Boehner is not really committing to anything, telling ABC News that he would expect something bipartisan but "to the right of where the Senate is," which he "doesn't believe" will be passed with more Democratic than Republican votes but "We're gonna let the House work its will." The House, not the House Republican caucus. In other words, uncertainty reigns. And far-right Rep. Steve King is clearly getting nervous about Boehner's intentions.

King is threatening a "special conference" of the House Republican caucus, a closed-door meeting which he can force with 50 signatures, signatures he says he has. The intent: putting the brakes on what he sees as a rush to increase immigration.

“A lot of us who will defend the rule of law and took an oath to uphold the Constitution are watching this agenda be maneuvered around us. It’s time we had a family discussion,” he explains. [...]

In fact, King believes the bill will create a permanent Democratic majority, something he implored his colleagues to heed at the RSC meeting.

“What they are seeking to do is convert the Hispanic vote into a monolithic voting bloc, very similar to that of African Americans. They know how to do it, they succeeded with the African-American vote.”

The thing is, Steve, it's not like the Republican party didn't have a hand in causing African Americans to vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. Just as it's been doing with Latino voters. If you scapegoat a group enough and legislate against them enough, they will turn to your competitors.

So while it seems that Boehner is keeping his options open to allow an immigration reform bill to pass with mostly Democratic support, he will face a stiff challenge from the anti-immigration extremists in his caucus. And the shaky politics of the House are, as Greg Sargent says, yet another reason for Senate Democrats to insist on a strong bill rather than letting Senate Republicans water it down even before it encounters the rightward pressures of the House.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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