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November 07, 2013 2:47 PM Time To Wear Black On Immigration Bill

By Ed Kilgore

When WaPo’s Greg Sargent says immigration reform legislation is likely dead this year, it’s time to wear black. The inveterate optimist on this subject quotes one of the handful of pro-comprehensive-reform Republicans in the House saying it just ain’t happening this year, or maybe next year:

“We have very few days available on the floor in the House, so I don’t think we’re going to be able to do it this year,” GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida told me by phone today.
Diaz-Balart has been deeply involved in bipartisan negotiations over immigration for years now, and is thought to be in touch with House GOP leaders on the issue, so folks involved in the immigration debate pay close attention to what he says.
Worse, Diaz-Balart said that if something were not done early next year — by February or March, before GOP primaries heat up - reform is dead for the foreseeable future.
“I’m hopeful that we can get to it early next year,” he said. “But I am keenly aware that next year, you start running into the election cycle. If we cannot get it done by early next year, then it’s clearly dead. It flatlines.”

I will repeat, as Greg has often done, that there is nothing inevitable about this outcome. The Senate bill could almost certainly pass the House today, or tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, if John Boehner brought it up for a vote. There are also more indirect vehicles available involving “piece-meal” immigration bills popular in this and than segment of the House GOP.

But Boehner and the rest of the House GOP leadership have decided that having recently annoyed conservative activists by failing to “defund Obamacare,” it’s no time to double-down on sanity.

Even when a clear option is available to get a big hairy monkey off their party’s back, it’s just too much for today’s Republicans. And much as I’ve predicted it, I definitely think it’s a sad day for the country.

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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