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July 01, 2013 12:10 PM Mini-August?

By Ed Kilgore

Congress is in recess this week, and Members touring their districts to grin and grip and patriotically parade may get a preview of the longer and usually much hotter August recess. The big thing to watch is how much hysteria our Tea Friends will bring to bear over comprehensive immigration reform. Quite a bit, suggest Politico’s Parti and Everett:

Activists are promising to spend the congressional recess reminding lawmakers who support the Gang of Eight legislation what the base is capable of. Think loud town halls, jammed phone lines and primary challenges down the road — echoes of Obamacare three years ago.

Anti-immigration reform protests could most obviously influence the House Republican leadership, whose strategic decisions in early July will determine whether it will publicly and unambiguously kill off any prospect of legislation this year, or keep some slim hope alive that unicorns could still prance down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House with a bill the president could sign. But just as importantly, the temperature of “the base” this summer could more subtly influence how intensely Republicans in both chambers hew to maximum partisanship. July is the scheduled juncture for a big Senate battle over presidential nominations, and quite possibly over the filibuster. It matters a great deal whether the two parties enter that battle looking for a deal or for loud and bloody conflict. If in their events back home this week Republicans hear far more war chants than pleas for sweet reasonableness (a very good bet), then July could produce a hot mess in Washington with the predictions of bipartisanship we heard so very recently from the punditocracy collapsing well ahead of schedule.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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