Immigration: GOP house members are playing this well as the NYTIMES and backers of the Senate bill knows this would kill the bill.
|NYTIMES: "The House has a much more simple-minded solution: walling immigrants out and calling the rest felons. Like the baffled hominids of "2001: A Space Odyssey," they are poking at the Senate's big-picture approach with a leg bone.
Their plan is to travel the country this summer holding public hearings on the Senate bill. That will probably just kill immigration reform for the year, since Congress won't get around to negotiations until just before the November elections, when serious, difficult discussions are generally taboo. "We are going to listen to the American people," the House speaker, Dennis Hastert, said.
But what the Republicans really want to do is take the Senate bill on a perp walk through the red states, relishing the catcalls denouncing it as "amnesty" and using the hearings to milk whatever anti-immigrant resentment they can find or drum up for the benefit of their candidates. Their motives couldn't be clearer. A senior member of the Republican leadership, Representative Deborah Pryce of Ohio, called the Senate legislation the "Kennedy bill," a nasty bit of partisan mislabeling that would surprise Arlen Specter and the other Republican co-sponsors, including Mel Martinez and John McCain."|
|For their part, several Senate GOP staffers TIME.com spoke with agreed that a public airing of the more moderate provisions in the Senate bill could doom their measure. Instead of enjoying the Republican chaos, however, Democrats were left scrambling to catch up. Sen. Harry Reid today called on President Bush to push those conservative House Republicans to begin a House-Senate conference immediately. But with his ratings low, and House Republicans digging in deeper, Bush may be little more than a spectator when it comes to this summer's immigration caravan.|