Third, if Majority Leader Reid musters sufficient votes to close debate and the bill clears the Senate, it would encounter overwhelming resistance in the House. In addition to opposing legalization prior to verifiably ending future illegal immigration, members will focus on Senate refusal to accord the sufficient committee consideration and floor debate. Following the secretive and unparliamentary manner in which ObamaCare cleared both chambers, House GOP leaders will ensure the bill is considered under regular order to avoid alienating voters who returned control of the House to the GOP in 2010. This will include ample consideration before House committees of jurisdiction and sufficient opportunity for amendment on the House floor. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte also recognizes that he would renege on prior commitments and dishonor the committee he chairs if he fails to extend extensive formal committee process to the legislation. A likely House-Senate conference would likely consume additional time and resources. Finally, because the origination clause requires that all bills that raise revenue originate in the House, any path to citizenship" that requires unlawful immigrants to pay back taxes must originate in that body to pass constitutional muster.
GOP leaders recognize that Democrats have attempted to divide conservatives by opening a two-front legislative battle on gun control and immigration reform. However, Republican leaders know that conservative support rests upon their decision to ensure that comprehensive immigration reform legislation receive comprehensive legislative consideration. They realize that passing any immigration bill that awards legal status to those who violate the law without first securing the border and verifiably ending future illegal flows will fracture the GOP and result in devastating losses at the polls. And they ultimately realize a shift in House party control will provide a newly-empowered House Democratic majority free reign to enact President Obama’ unrealized tax, spending, immigration and gun control agenda in the final years of his presidency.
Congressional Democrats and the Obama White House know what is at stake in the coming weeks. Do congressional Republicans?
Tracci served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General at DOJ from 2006-2008, Chief Legislative Counsel and Parliamentarian to the House Judiciary Committee from 2004-2006, and Majority Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee from 2000-2004.