Sunday, August 27, 2006


Summertime is Over - Let's Do Something

In June we anticipated that Congress would reach a compromise on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill which had just passed the Senate. We were all quickly disillusioned by the House's reluctance to reach any kind of compromise at all. Indeed, the whole discussion was tabled while the Republication controlled House began a series of hearing in various parts of the country to gauge the support for CIR. Those hearings that are not stacked against CIR by anti immigration organizations are essentially telling the House leadership what we already know: The country is divided on the issue and some decisions are going to have to be made that are guaranteed to make a good chunk of the electorate unhappy.

The Republicans in Congress are caught in a quandary. Many of them are adamantly opposed to any form of legalization program. However, President Bush strongly supports the whole CIR program. The President's problem is that his administration's failures (or perceived failures, I don't want to get off subject here) of the handling of the war in Iraq, Social Security Reform, Katrina response, corruption and/or incompetence among his appointees and among fellow Republicans, on and on, have severely hurt his and his party's support among voters.

Congressional Republicans trying to save their own skins in the next election don't see any upside to going in support of a program pushed by the President, but that they see as not helping them with their constituants. However, they don't want to add to the damage by directly opposing their own party's leader. So, they stall with useless hearings around the country, which they hope will let them survive past the election in November. Once the election has come and gone, with voters unable to take immediate revenge against them for supporting the President, Republicans can bit the bullet and pass a compromise immigration bill with some sort of guestworker program.

This may be wishful thinking on their part. Most commentators think that the GOP will lose control of the House after the next election. Even apart from immigration related needs, the record of this Administration and this Congress of getting things done has been especially dismal.


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