Perhaps the president knows something legislative watchers don’t, because Mr. Obama vows – in sharp contrast to political pundits Capitol Hill insiders – the House Speaker John Boehner will indeed pass immigration reform before the end of the year.
Most say the issue is dead for 2014, The Hill reported.
But in a meeting with key Democratic Party senators, Mr. Obama predicted this his vow to voters to reform immigration law, and loosen restrictions on illegals and open doors to more amnesty, will become reality in the coming months. Republicans will lose big at the polls if they fail to act, he warned, the media outlet reported.
“[Obama] predicted the House would pass something this year,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, who attended this week’s meeting with the president, in The Hill. At the same time, Mr. Kaine said the president admitted the legislative debates would prove fiery.
“He said we’re then all going to have a challenging conversation,” Mr. Kaine said, in The Hill. “He said it was more likely than not the House would do something.”
Sen. Charles Schumer, who sponsored a bill on immigration that passed the Senate, emerged from the same meeting with a similar assessment.
“I think our Republican colleagues realize that to be blocking immigration reform is not good for them,” Mr. Schumer said, in The Hill.
Meanwhile, moves are afoot on the Republican side to bring forward immigration reform. Mr. Boehner hired the same aide to work as his new immigration policy director who also worked for Sen. John McCain – who co-sponsored Mr. Schumer’s immigration bill. And Mr. Boehner said he’s readying to release a set of Republican Party immigration reform measures just before Mr. Obama’s State of the Union address on Jan. 28.
It’s still not clear how the two sides will find consensus on the most controversial aspect of Mr. Obama’s immigration reform – the legalization of about 11 million illegals. Several Republicans in the House say they won’t vote for amnesty in any form, while Rep. Darrell Issa has suggested a plan to legalize immigrants via visas and worker permits, The Hill reported. Meanwhile, Mr. Boehner has indicated in the past that he’s in favor of a piecemeal approach to immigration reform, rather than the sweeping legislative change proposed by the president and key Democrats. And Mr. Issa has expressed doubts that immigration reform could pass before 2015.
Despite, Mr. Obama is still optimistic for 2014 reform.
“He feels good. He thinks we’re going to be able to get something on immigration,” said one Democratic senator who met with the president at the White House, The Hill reported. “He just thinks that Republicans are not going to want to be hanging out on that.”