Boehner on the high wire

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Thursday was a huge day for the Gang of Eight and those hoping a comprehensive bill will pass. Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly endorsed the plan and a border security amendment authored by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) boosted hope that a good number of Republican senators could come on board.

Things had been looking grim for reformers since Boehner had announced Tuesday that he would not bring an immigration bill to the floor that didn't have support from a majority of the majority, bowing to conservative pressure to follow the so-called "Hastert Rule" instead of passing a compromise bill with mostly Democrats.

But when asked if that pledge would extend to bringing a conference report to the floor (one that presumably would have a path to citizenship), Boehner hedged. In fact, on Wednesday he met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to encourage them on the subject.

The Associated Press reported Boehner predicted a bipartisan compromise, leading caucus members to leave the meeting in high spirits. "The meeting was wonderful," gushed chief House proponent Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.). In addition, Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-Texas) called it "a meeting that gives us a lot of hope."

Clearly Boehner is on the high wire and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) is on to it. "He's not promising not to bring a conference report to the floor that has amnesty. He's not promising not to bring that to the floor," he said.

It's hard to see Boehner getting immigration reform into law, given what happened on the farm bill. One House GOP member close to leadership told me today "the Senate bill is DOA in the House," and insisted that the House bill will not provide a pathway to citizenship.

Apparently 70 votes in the Senate doesn't mean much to the House GOP.

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