Yesterday, I suggested that the most plausible scenario under which Congress enacts Schumer-Rubio style amnesty legislation is one in which: (1) the House passes very different legislation, but (2) relents in conference with the Senate, and (3) adopts the conference version with near unanimous Democrat support and a few dozen Republican votes.
One way to avoid this scenario is for the House to pass no immigration reform legislation at all, not even a proposal that would merely increase border security. Then, there will be no conference.
Accordingly, some conservatives on the House Judiciary Committee are considering trying to block all immigration bills from being reported out of committee. Rep. Louis Gohmert, for one, says he is inclined to vote against even enforcement-only immigration bills in the Judiciary Committee. Rep. Steve King reportedly is thinking of doing the same.
I doubt, though, that enough Republicans would join this effort to prevent substantively unobjectionable legislation from winning a majority of votes in committee. Moreover, Speaker Boehner has the ability to bring legislation to the floor even if it doesn’t pass in committee.
Another way to avoid Schumer-Rubio style amnesty legislation from passing via the conference route is for Speaker Boehner to refuse to bring a conference report to the floor for a vote unless at least half of his caucus favors it. As we have noted, Boehner is committed to applying this approach (the Hastert Rule) with respect to legislation originating in the House.
But Boehner was non-committal when asked today whether he would apply the Hastert Rule to the product of a House-Senate conference. “We’ll see when we get there,” Boehner told NRO’s Jonathan Strong.
So you can understand why Gohmert and King would like to make sure we don’t get there.
HERE”S ANOTHER THOUGHT: Maybe the House should only consider (and reject without a floor vote pursuant to the Hastert Rule) the immigration bill the Senate passes. The House is under no obligation to waste its time considering more palatable, worthwhile immigration legislation that Harry Reid has already made clear is unacceptable to the Senate.