In an interview today, Pelosi said she hoped Boehner and Republicans had learned “lessons” from the farm bill debacle about the consequences of moving legislation too far to the right, and warned that doing so on immigration reform would alienate Dems just as Republican amendments to the farm bill did.And what exactly does going too far mean in the context of immigration reform?
“They were asking us to abandon our values, because they couldn’t get their act together,” Pelosi said of the farm bill debate, a reference to GOP amendments that imposed strict work requirements on food stamps on top of the $20 billion in cuts to the program. “Hopefully they learned a lesson that you cannot go too far.”
“The key point is this: if they have triggers that are impossible to achieve, then it’s disingenuous to say there’s really a path to citizenship,” Pelosi said, reiterating that citizenship must be “achievable.”The thing that made the "border surge" work is that while it does make a path to citizenship conditional on an enormous increase in border security and enforcement, that increase is objectively achievable. It avoids setting up an arbitrary, gameable trigger based on a statistical outcome.
Boehner has said he won't bring a bill to the floor without the support of a majority of Republicans, but in theory that could mean he brings a bill to the floor with a majority of Republicans voting in favor of the rule for the vote, but against the bill itself. He's done that before. The alternative is that he either drops the ball completely, pushes a bill without a path to citizenship, or goes for an impossible-to-achieve trigger. Those are all recipes for failure. As Pelosi says, Democrats will help pass a immigration reform bill, but if Boehner and the GOP will have to be willing to deliver a bill worth voting for. Otherwise, it will be another round of Republican failure.