The Hill reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says he doesn’t see any way the Democratic-controlled Senate and GOP-led House will agree on immigration reform legislation in 2014. McConnell explained:
I think we have sort of an irresolvable conflict here. The Senate insists on comprehensive [legislation]. The House says it won’t go to conference with the Senate on comprehensive and wants to look at [it] step by step. I don’t see how you get to an outcome this year with the two bodies in such a different place.
McConnell, who is up for reelection this year, certainly hopes there will be no immigration reform legislation. By next year at this time, he might be Senate Majority Leader or he might be out of the Senate altogether. The passage, or even the strong push for, immigration reform would decrease the likelihood of the former outcome and increase the possibility of the latter.
Unfortunately, McConnell may not have much say on the matter. Immigration reform will take place if House Republicans can agree with Senate Democrats. Senate Republicans who don’t want amnesty-style reform are basically sidelined, having failed to prevent such a bill from passing the Senate last year.
As for the “conflict” between comprehensive and step-by-step legislation, it doesn’t seem “irresolvable” to me. If the step-by-step legislation starts to look, cumulatively, like the comprehensive legislation, then a deal is possible.
One hopes, though, that House Republicans will give strong consideration to the views of Senate Republicans like McConnell who understand how immigration reform, or even a battle on the subject, could undermine Republican chances of capturing the Senate. Surely, it would be much more fun to serve in the House knowing that bills passed there will at least get voted on in the Senate, rather than dying in Harry Reid’s in-basket.
Meanwhile, don’t forget to keep those calls coming to your Republican congressman. The number for the U.S. Capitol switchboard is 202-224-3121. The good folks who work the switchboard will put you right through to your representative’s office.