News / USA

Republicans Hesitate on Immigration Reform

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio arrives for a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 6, 2014. Boehner said it will be difficult to pass immigration legislation this year.
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio arrives for a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 6, 2014. Boehner said it will be difficult to pass immigration legislation this year.
Earlier this year the prospects for immigration reform seemed bright.  Republican congressional leaders, especially House Speaker John Boehner, shifted their tone and indicated a willingness to find common ground with President Barack Obama and Democrats on legalizing the status of millions who had entered the country unlawfully.
 
But the backlash was swift.  When it came time to float the idea to the conservative Republican conference in the House of Representatives, the air was squeezed out of the balloon quicker than a giggling five-year old.  When Speaker Boehner ran into conservative opposition within his own conference, he shifted the blame to President Obama, arguing that Republicans don’t trust him to enforce current immigration laws.
 
Rather than try to resolve differences in the party that have plagued Republicans for several years, the leadership decided the risks of inter-party warfare were too great during a congressional election year.  Republican strategists focused on the short term political gains and argued that anything that took the party focus off of attacking Obamacare during the election cycle was a distraction and a waste of time.  They won out.  Immigration reform, it seems, has fallen victim to election politics yet again.
 
None of this is reassuring to moderate Republicans and many in the business community who fear the party may be adding to its long term woes by passing on immigration reform this year.  President Obama lost the white vote to Mitt Romney in 2012 but it didn’t matter.  The president won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote and the Obama coalition of young people, minorities and women carried him to re-election despite Romney’s strong showing with whites and even independent voters.  Forward-looking Republicans are worried that the party is missing an opportunity this year to make some progress on immigration reform, something that might begin to soften the Republican image among Hispanic and Asian-American voters, the two fastest-growing groups in the electorate.
 
Could reform happen in 2015?  It gets more complicated.  The closer on the calendar you get to the Republican presidential primaries could work against any compromise on immigration reform.  As we saw in the 2012 primaries, the deep divide within the party over how to handle illegal immigrants already in the country will be on full display during the various presidential candidate debates held before and during the primaries and caucus votes during the 2016 presidential election cycle.  The odds of finding enough Republicans to support a compromise on immigration during this period would seem to be slim.  
 
Changing Tactics
 
While Republicans appear to be passing on immigration reform, it looks as though they are abandoning their tactic of using votes on raising the debt limit to extract spending cuts from the president and Democrats in Congress.  The decision this week to allow a “clean” debt limit bill to pass without any conditions or demands for additional spending cuts signals the end of a three-year strategy that Republican congressional leaders have now apparently deemed ineffective.
 
The culmination of that strategy was last October’s shutdown of the federal government, spurred by Tea Party enthusiasts both within and outside of Congress, who were desperate to show conservatives back home that they were serious about trying to kill the Obama health care law.  But the tactic backfired on Republicans.  Their approval rating as a party began to seriously plummet and only evened off after serious problems arose with the web site for the health care law, which in turn dominated news headlines for weeks.
 
The shutdown was a debacle for the Tea Party and emboldened mainstream Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to be less fearful of conservative threats and pressure.  Congressional leaders quickly agreed on a budget framework that was signed into law by President Obama, and that was followed by this week’s strategy on the debt limit extension.
 
Conservative and Tea Party groups are very unhappy.  The Senate Conservatives Fund, an independent group that strikes fear in the hearts of Republican senators seeking to avoid far-right primary challengers, issued a statement demanding that Boehner must be replaced.  But unlike in past years, the reaction seems muted.  Republican leaders sense that Tea Party organizers are back on their heels a bit after the shutdown fiasco.  They are also being more aggressive in trying to weed out conservative primary challengers who can undermine Republican chances to win back control of the Senate this November.
 
Republicans sense an opportunity in this year’s midterm elections and they don’t want to blow it.  They believe if they can field the right candidates in some key Senate races, they can both hold or increase their majority in the House and gain the six seats they need to take hold of the Senate.  If that happens, they believe President Obama would be effectively boxed in for his final two years in office.  Republicans would then have an opportunity to promote their proposals for smaller government in Congress as a kind of preview for the presidential election campaign two years from now.  After eight years of President Obama, Republicans see winning their year’s congressional elections as a key step in returning to power in the White House in 2016.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: USA PARENTS from: Illinois
February 21, 2014 2:56 AM
Families All good people
our hearts and prayers go out to our families.
Is our chance to get back to best of who we are.
to lead by example with the dignity,
integrity and honor that built this country
and which will build it once again

Please don't take us from our beliefs,
and don't trample our freedom.
Please don't separate us Families
We are Illegal Parents, Wife's Husbands, Brothers and kids of Us Citizens And Us Families
who serve out of the spotlight.
We Want to be Part of us Families we want to know what is Freedom.
May God Bless You
And may God Bless the
United States of America

by: Wish Freedom from: Florida
February 17, 2014 6:15 AM
IDK why People stile just talk. Many people dyes for Freedom
All USA History Fight for Freedom
But where is Freedom Today?
Where Is Constitution right?
I see Kids like Parents are Deported.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bGc_iuR3sg

by: sally from: maui
February 14, 2014 9:36 PM
I am sick and tires of this congress along with president Obama playing politics with people lives. Congress flip flop and president obama do not sign to stop deportations. This congress will have in record to block all bill and Mr. President Obama will in record who deported families who believe in him. I am very disappointed

by: whatever from: FL
February 14, 2014 10:56 AM
They are fighting for their arsses not for people. Everything is about power, nobody cares for small people.

by: jaswant dol from: Philippines
February 14, 2014 1:21 AM
Republican or democrat are same on immigration issue.they don't want it done
In Response

by: Milan Nikolic
February 14, 2014 1:56 AM
True!

by: Bat from: New York
February 13, 2014 4:29 PM
Republicans are dreaming too big to control both houses, but let me tell you this they will lose majority in both houses in 2014.

by: thomas bush from: sac,ca
February 13, 2014 2:37 PM
This artical was written by a repug,im sure,its a bunch of fantasy,too unreal.
In Response

by: John smith from: Texas
February 13, 2014 7:34 PM
Republican't keep dreaming you are too far away from reality. I am republican but tea party antiamerican party does not represent the American people at all. Times has changed.
In Response

by: hanna from: new york
February 13, 2014 5:44 PM
what may seem impossible can happen. stop hating on immigrants not all are mexican
In Response

by: Danny from: fort lauderdale
February 13, 2014 3:48 PM
.. I agree with you ,i think probably they still dreamIng, but its not going to happen!!!! they can dream it's free.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs