Dead or just stalled?

That’s the question everyone here in Washington is asking about comprehensive immigration reform. Normally, I would say “stalled.” This is a situation in which the president and key Senators in his party have reached basic agreement with the opposition party, which happens to control Congress. Their agreement, moreover, has the blessing of the media elite which is egging the parties on with calls for leadership, bipartisanship, and problem solving. Finally, this is double “feel-good” legislation. It’s an exercise in reaching across the aisle in the spirit of fellowship, a turn-on for some legislators (or at least some Republican legislators), plus it involves helping people (albeit lawbreakers) in a very direct way.
Normally, in these circumstances the outcome is oh-so predictable. After many chills and spills, the grand compromise is finally reached and legislation is enacted with back-patting all around.
But here, there’s a huge problem. The rank-and-file of one party, the Republicans, hates the concept of the legislation (rank-and-file Democrats are focused on other matters and don’t care that much about the outcome). It’s not just most Republicans oppose comprehensive immigration reform; it’s that the issue is of overriding importance to them. As a result, Republican legislators will incur the wrath of their core supporters if the legislation is enacted.
One would think this is enough to kill the prospects for enacting the immigration reform package even with all the momentum working in its favor. But since we’re talking about Republicans here, I’m far from convinced the legislation is dead.
JOHN offers a PREDICTION: The immigration bill is not dead. It is only resting…or perhaps stunned…or, it’s pining for the fjords! The comprehensive immigration reform bill may turn out to be the Norwegian Blue of legislation.

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