Bipartisanship on Amnesty: The Poison Pill

Eyeglasses with newspaper and coffee cup

Over the last few weeks, pressure has built on the House to pass the Senate’s amnesty bill. So far, Speaker Boehner is holding strong on not even considering the bill, favoring smaller, more concise bills rather than the Obamacare style bill passed by the Senate:

House Speaker John Boehner is sticking to his position: The House will not vote on the Senate-passed immigration bill.

“I’ve made it clear and I’ll make it clear again, the House does not intend to take up the Senate bill,” Boehner said Monday. “The House is going to do its own job in developing an immigration bill.”

Senate Majority Leader Reid is, of course, declaring that the House should pass a bill that can get support in both parties:

Reid said Boehner’s adherence to the “Hastert Rule” requiring a majority of Republican caucus votes to move legislation is emblematic of the lower chamber’s dysfunction.

“To find a solution to the student loan issue and every issue facing this Congress, the speaker should work with us and his Democratic colleagues in the House,” Reid said. “The only way to pass meaningful legislation in either chamber is to do votes with reasonable Democrats and reasonable Republicans.”

According to Senator Reid, “reasonable” is an immigration bill that creates far more problems in our nation’s immigration system than it solves. In order for good faith negotiations between chambers to serve the American people, both offers must have legitimate solutions to the problem being addressed. Imagine if one side brings an apple pie to the picnic and the other brings a poison pill, mixing the two together can only create a poison apple pie. Calling it “bipartisanship” or “reasonable” doesn’t make it any less toxic.

So far Speaker Boehner has refused to rubberstamp Senator Reid’s Amnesty bill, maintaining that the House will look for real reform options. It would be wise for him to nix the entire amnesty ploy debate by passing nothing. While the media will hammer Republicans for being intransigent, the fact of the matter is that any bill that leaves the House will go to conference with the Senate’s bill. If past Republican negotiations (debt ceiling, continuing resolution, etc.) are an indicator of their current bargaining skills, the Senate bill will define the negotiation and the House bill will be undermined into Amnesty and little more.

America needs immigration reform, and desperately. But there’s no need for the Speaker to rush things; it’s better to do immigration reform right rather than quickly. The job of Speaker of the House demands nothing less.