Friday, June 21, 2013

Defeat of Farm Bill in House raises concern that immigration bill could suffer the same fate

With the Farm Bill failing to pass the House,  attention in Congress now turns to the immigration bill, which could suffer a similar fate because of the ardent conservatism of a majority of Republican House members. Both bills are important for agricultural interests, many of which rely heavily on immigrant labor.

"Every bill that passes the House is too liberal for someone and too conservative for someone else. But majorities nevertheless emerge out of party loyalty and strategic trust. That was what was supposed to happen here, too," Ezra Klein writes for The Washington Post. "The fact that House Republicans were relying on Democratic votes to pass a bill that slashes food stamps and was certain to be vetoed by a Democratic president tells you about what you need to know about the desperation inside the [House] Republican conference on this one. Will immigration go the same way? Perhaps. But it’s not a sure thing, either. There’s not going to be an immigration bill that all House Republicans are happy with. And they’re not going to pass an immigration bill because [Speaker John] Boehner begs and pleads."

Klein adds, "The prospects of immigration have always relied on the theory that it’s a unicorn — that Republicans see a strategic need to pass it, or let it pass, that they don’t see for virtually anything else in government. Or, to put it differently, the idea is that immigration reform is an exception to the precise rules that doomed the Farm Bill. Whether that’s true remains to be seen. But the Farm Bill’s failure doesn’t prove it false." (Read more)

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