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Saturday, October 22, 2016

John Boehner’s Attitude Is The GOP’s Latest Excuse To Block Immigration Reform

John Boehner’s Attitude Is The GOP’s Latest Excuse To Block Immigration Reform

First it was opposition to the “amnesty.” Then came concerns that President Obama would never actually “secure the border.” But now House Republicans’ excuse to kick immigration reform further down the road focus on an unlikely foe: House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

The new complaint comes after Boehner criticized his fellow House Republicans and their attitude toward immigration reform at an event with a Rotary group in Middletown, Ohio.

“Here’s the attitude: Ohhhh. Don’t make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard,” Boehner said about his fellow House Republicans.

While Boehner reportedly received laughs from the audience, some Republican House members view the display as new evidence that the Speaker cannot be trusted.

“He’s speaking off the cuff and speaking from his heart but he needs to realize that we are his team, we are his flock,” Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) told the Washington Examiner. “And he needs to be a good shepherd.”

Speaker Boehner did try to “clarify” his remarks on Tuesday, pivoting back to criticisms of President Barack Obama (which is always popular with House Republicans). “I wanted to make sure the members understood that the biggest impediment we have in moving immigration reform is that the American people don’t trust the president to enforce or implement the law that we may or may not pass.” Boehner then made clear that his intention was not to “mock” members of his own party. “There was no mocking, you all know me,” Boehner said during a news conference in Washington on Tuesday. “You tease the ones you love.”

But not every member of the Republican majority in the House has accepted Boehner’s explanation.

“I think he tried to clarify things and I appreciate him trying to do that,” Rep. Salmon told the Examiner Tuesday. “But more frequently over the last several months the Speaker has made off-the-cuff comments. I think if he wants to keep our devotion and support then he needs to be a lot more disciplined.”

Boehner’s quick pivot back to criticizing President Obama, after being challenged by members of his party, perhaps shows how little he actually wants immigration reform to pass.  He does, after all, have the support of a number of outspoken House Republicans on the issue. The fourth ranking House Republican, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), told the Spokane Statesman-Review recently that there is still hope for immigration reform to be voted on in the House by this summer. “I believe there is a path that we get a bill by August,” McMorris Rodgers told the newspaper. “We’re going to have to push that this is legal status, not amnesty.”

Furthermore, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) recently wrote to Boehner, urging him to bring immigration reform to a vote in the House. In the letter, King challenged Republicans who criticize the “amnesty clause” in the House version of the immigration bill already passed by the Senate.

King wrote: “As to the issues of legalization and citizenship for undocumented immigrants, I fully understand and appreciate the argument that illegal behavior should not be rewarded. The reality though is that we are not going to deport 11 million immigrants.”

There’s also the reality that Speaker Boehner could bring H.R. 15 — the House version of the Senate-passed immigration bill — to a vote whenever he likes. If he did, he would likely have the votes to pass it. While some chalk this up to Boehner’s adherence to the “Hastert Rule,” it’s important to note that he has invoked this rule selectively, breaking it repeatedly when convenient.

As America’s Voice, an immigration advocacy group, put it in a recent press release: “No amount of blame shifting can distract from the simple truth that the House could pass immigration reform if Republicans turned their rhetoric into actual bill text and actual floor votes.”

So, as House Republicans continue to shift blame and fight among themselves, the likelihood of immigration reform being passed gets increasingly smaller. In fact, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) recently released the House Republicans’ spring legislative agenda– and it ignores the immigration bill altogether.

AFP Photo/Jim Watson

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  • Lynda Groom

    It has been clear for some time that Boehner is the least effective Speaker of the House in generations. In his defense he does have to work with his own party and what it has become. Until the make up of the membership changes don’t expect anything of value to come from that body. These are certainly strange times we are witness too.

    • Independent1

      Lynda, in my mind, you’re being very polite by simply saying that Boehner is “the least effective speaker” of the House in generations. My description of his tenure as speaker would be much harsher than that I’m afraid – and I’m not sure I could find the words to describe how I feel about him that would be appropriate for this blog.

      And I guess I’d be more inclined to call the times we’re witnessing as ‘dire times’; as there are millions of American families whose futures are hanging in the balance these days simply because the GOP fanatics in Congress, including Boehner, appear to not care that while they’re playing games, millions of even their own constituents are struggling on the verge of poverty or having already fallen into it.

      As each month goes by, millions of American families are seeing their savings and retirement funds going up in smoke with their futures looking grimmer and grimmer because the fanatics in Congress just keep twiddling their thumbs as the American dream goes up in smoke for so many millions. And sadly, unless the Dems can pull off an upset in the 2014 elections and somehow take over Congress, which doesn’t appear likely to happen, the next two years will not bring much of any relief as the may well be exactly like the previous six with little or nothing being done to change the current situation for all the struggling American families.

      Two more years must seem like a lifetime to those that are struggling to keep their heads above water, but if they can survive till then, hopefully 2016 will bring about a time when enough of the GOP fanatics will be voted out of Congress to allow the Dems to make the legislative changes that will bring about a more promising future for our country and its people.

      • Lynda Groom

        You are correct. I waited some time before making a comment so I would control my remark. In truth I find him to be among the worst human beings in existence. He is coward of the first order only interested in power at the expense of Americans one and all.

        • Independent1

          As 3ByGmh pointed out, Boehner has a hard job as speaker because of the Tea Baggers that people voted into office. But it seems to me, there are times when as a human being, you have to put the welfare of the people who voted you into office, if not the country iteself, above your own welfare – your ability to hold onto a job that you are clearly not suited for.

          And I still have a problem understanding how Boehner, McConnell, Cantor, Ryan and tons of other GOP legislators sleep at night knowing fully what they’re doing, to not only America, but also to millions of their own constituents: by deliberately playing stalling games (wasting time and money) that is allowing not only our economy to stumble along, but again, millions of their constituents to suffer on employment (which they won’t even extend), or for them to wallow in poverty with some dying prematurely because they can’t feed themselves well or get the medical care they need. I found it hard to understand how some human beings can deliberately do that to other human beings. And then all the while, pretending that they are Christian!!!

    • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

      Lynda, speaking as a Democrat, Boehner has a number of outside conditions that have caused his ineffectiveness.
      1. He is one of the ultimate “insiders”. He, like another Ohioan – Warren G. Harding, is the guy every other insider picks for their favorite in the GOP.
      2. The Tea Party in general and Michelle Bachmann and Ted Cruz in particular. In the previous congress Bachmann went out of her way to demonstrate her ignorance in just about everything and opposed more bills and programs than all the other House members combined. In addition, she was neither the principal nor co-sponsor of any legislation during her entire tenure. In this Congress, Cruz effectively placed himself in charge of the Tea Party (i.e. Obstructionist) Wing of the House, disregarding Congressional Protocols in a manner not seen since Thomas Jefferson was Vice-President and spent those four years undermining President John Adams’ authority. In neither case was Boehner effectively able to censure these people.
      3. He inherited a ridiculous “policy” dubbed the “Hastert Doctrine” meaning you do not bring a bill to the floor for a vote unless you can ensure it will pass only with votes from your own party. Even though former Speaker Dennis Hastert took the blame for this one, it was actually one of Tom DeLay’s ploys to keep the Speaker’s office as a lesser one to his House Majority leader position. Whenever he tried to bypass it, he was threatened with removal by the Tea Party wing.
      All I can say in the end is as Speaker, John Boehner makes one hell of a bartender!

      • dmhlt_66

        One small nit to pick: The “Hastert Rule” is that the Speaker won’t bring a bill to a floor vote unless the majority of the majority party support it – NOT that the majority party pass it just by themselves.

        • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

          Maybe in theory, but in practice if Kevin McCarthy (the Majority Whip) doesn’t have 218 votes in his pocket, it generally doesn’t hit the floor.

  • latebloomingrandma

    I had to laugh when I saw that clip of Boehner mocking–yes, Mr. Speaker, it was mocking—-his dysfunctional House. I guess one can only stifle oneself so far before you explode. So, if he’s the leader, why is he putting up with this crap? I couldn’t help but think of my mother, a really gentle soul, who raised 8 rowdy children. Sometime she would just “explode” with “I’m gonna bust you one.” Of course, she didn’t, but we have a good laugh today remembering her frustration and red face. She would have done a better job as Speaker.