According to Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), comprehensive immigration reform faces a rougher road “because of the way the president has behaved towards his opponents over the last three weeks.”
The Republican senator and oft-rumored presidential hopeful – who helped pass the latest immigration legislation through the Senate – told Fox News Sunday that “immigration reform is a lot harder to achieve today than it was just three weeks ago,” because President Obama refused to give in to the GOP’s demands that he defund or repeal the Affordable Care Act in exchange for ending the government shutdown.
“The president has undermined this effort,” Rubio said.
Rubio’s assertion rests on what he describes as Republican mistrust of the president over his handling of the government shutdown. Thus, because Obama refused to give in to an absurd demand this past month, the stubborn GOP is now more inclined to kill reform. Rubio even agreed with Republican representative Raul Labrador of Idaho that the House GOP leadership would be “crazy” to negotiate with Obama.
Rubio’s comments come just days after the president urged Congress to pass an immigration bill “by the end of this year.” Since Obama’s comments on Thursday, several GOP lawmakers have expressed their unwillingness to pass immigration reform legislation in the wake of the governing crisis.
Echoing several of his fellow party members’ doubts, Rubio suggested that the president would not enforce an immigration reform bill, even if Congress passed it.
“You have a government and a White House that has consistently decided to ignore the law or how to apply it,” Rubio said.
Still, Rubio acknowledges that “the immigration system has to be fixed.”
He added that the “House deserves the time and space to craft their own solution,” which he suggests could be better than the bill passed in the Senate.
Rubio and his party seemingly need a reminder of a lesson they just learned: No talking points can justify or obscure an obvious act of spite, and refusing to negotiate is only going to hurt the party’s already damaged reputation less than a year ahead of the midterm elections.