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Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration

Schumer’s Future and the Senate Leadership Curse

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In the recent past there has been no surer way to ingloriously leave the Senate than to be named leader of your party's Senate delegation. This recent fate may soon fell Democrat and Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada. As Sen. Reid's re-election chances continue to dim, Sen. Chuck Schumer's (D-NY) jockeying for the position could be the final nail in the coffin for CIR in 2010.

Since becoming Majority Leader, Sen. Reid has been under constant attack in his home state. Several Republicans have lined up to face Sen. Reid. The polls suggest that the race is a toss-up and the trend lines point to a Reid loss.

Some are beginning to point to Sen. Schumer as a likely candidate to succeed Sen. Reid as Democrat Senate Leader. In order for CIR to pass, it will need the leadership of someone who is not worried about his or her political future since immigration is too hot-button an issue for someone who is concerned about their future. If Sen. Schumer decides that the Majority leadership is in his future, he would be unwise to stump for immigration reform until he secures the leadership position.

If does secure the Democratic leadership, Sen. Schumer may decide to revisit CIR at a point in time when passage looks better - i.e. when national unemployment is not around 10 percent and Democrats do not look to be hemorrhaging seats in both the Senate and House. In the meantime, targeted immigration reform may be the play for politicians interested in specific issues, such as liberalized healthcare immigration.

For Sen. Schumer to seek CIR while surreptitiously stumping for the Senate Democratic Leadership position would be carelessly risky and tell us that Sen. Schumer has not learned about the Senate Leadership Curse that has felled many recent Leaders.

Sen. Reid's predecessor, Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) came under the spell of the Curse. Sen. Daschle was often pegged as the "Chief Obstructionist" by Republicans. South Dakota voters bought into the meme and refused to re-appoint him to the Senate in 2004.

The Senate Leadership Curse is not limited to Democrats. Trent Lott (R-MS) was forced out of the Republican Leadership position in 2003 after some inflammatory and arguably racist comments surfaced. Sen. Lott would unceremonious resign his Senatorial seat in 2007.

Sen. Lott was succeeded by Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) as GOP Senate Leader. Sen. Frist took a few questionable positions on right-to-life issues and eventually would announce that he was resigning his majority position and leaving the Senate.

With Lott's exit, the Republican leadership was handed off to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who is the current Republican Senate Leader. Under McConnell's stewardship, the Republicans lost many seats in 2008, leading some to question McConnell's ability to head the Senate Republicans. In Sen. McConnell's home state, libertarian Rand Paul is raising impressive amounts of money in his bid to win the open 2009 Senate seat being vacated by fellow Republican Jim Bunning. Mr. Paul is not the Republican Party's "establishment" candidate. If Mr. Paul is successful it will signal that rank-and-file Republicans are unsatisfied with the current national Republican leadership.

While Sen. McConnell's leadership is being questioned, his feet are on sounder ground than Sen. Reid's. With polling numbers continuing to spell doom for Sen. Reid's re-election, Sen. Schumer's chances for the Majority position look brighter.

If Sen. Schumer is elected Majority Leader, he will want to avoid the Senate Leadership Curse. However since Sen. Schumer's 2010 re-election is thought to be a forgone conclusion, he will not have to defend his record until 2016. With a six year cushion before re-election, Sen. Schumer may be the ideal Senator to champion immigration reform, but in 2011.

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Comments

  1. rajani's Avatar
    Hello Sir, What will happen to the Nurse Bill? Will this also get delayed like CIR to 2011 or 2012? Any update from you on the proposed meeting with USCIS regarding the memo?
  2. Chris Musillo's Avatar
    @ Rajani-
    The nurse bill is part of the CIR. But CIR looks like it is stalled.
  3. Jack's Avatar
    we have to wait for health care reform; once its passed, i am sure, nurses bill will get thru easily (because, HC bill will creat easy path to hospitals by millions of americans)
  4. nagamani's Avatar
    Dear Chris,
    The health care bill is on the verge of passing soon and Nurse bill for lifting of retrogression may be attached as ammendment which may be easier.
    Any attempts made on this.

  5. Jim's Avatar
    "we have to wait for health care reform; once its passed, i am sure, nurses bill will get thru easily (because, HC bill will creat easy path to hospitals by millions of americans)"

    Why not just automatically attach the nurse bill as an amendment to the HC reform bill just like what nagamani suggested.

    An additional 30-40 million more insured people is no joke!! That's more than the population of some countries.

    And it looks like the Dems are now willing to pass the HC reform bill via reconciliation if their last ditch effort to have bipartisanship with his summit with the GOP next week still fails.
  6. Chris Musillo's Avatar
    @ Jack, Nagamani-

    That has been the strategy -- wait for the healthcare bill and then CIR is next. Unfortunately, the growing opinion is that the Republicans will continue to stall the healthcare bill and it will never pass.
  7. Chris Musillo's Avatar
    @Jim- While I'd love to see that approach, the Dems are trying to reduce the scale of the healthcare bill in the hopes of getting it passed. My contacts in DC say that adding an issue like visa reform for nurses and PTs is not going to help the Healthcare Bill get passed and therefore will not happen. It's too bad because what you suggest is an elegant way to do it.
  8. Poor Fellow's Avatar
    It is very clear. Dems want to stay in office for their own gains, hence they are fighting to pass the HC bill at any cost; doesn't matter if there are enough nurses or PTs to meet the new increased demands of patients; doesn't matter if these patients suffer because of that.
    They won't fix the legal immigration. Reason: Need to fix illegal immigration first.
    CIR won't pass this yr. Reason: Election year..wohh hooo.Let start working on more campaigns..keep up the good work guys.
  9. Sagar/Jack's Avatar
    Now, as Chris said, if HC bill never pass, then, we cannot expect any nurses bill; especially when unemployment is high..So, this year also gone. End of next year my visa screen will expire; So, I have to say a good bye...Hummmm....
    Chris, if HC and CIR never pass, then any chance for nurses bill before Nov election..?
  10. Sagar/Jack's Avatar
    Also, by the time they pass nurses bill in 2012-2015-2020, will there be anybody with visa screen/RN result etc...?
  11. Jim's Avatar
    "My contacts in DC say that adding an issue like visa reform for nurses and PTs is not going to help the Healthcare Bill get passed and therefore will not happen. It's too bad because what you suggest is an elegant way to do it."

    That's too bad. Just couldn't get it though that they can't do that when Reid is now even willing to even go all the way for public option if they are going to do it via reconciliation when the summit fails next week.

    My guess from Reid's thinking is that if they are going to shove it via reconciliation (and let it be all Dems) then why not go all the way and do public option.

    From the same thinking, if they are going to shove it via reconciliation then why not let the nurse bill piggy back as well.

    Why even do a high risk maneuver like reconciliation if you can't put everything you want. Why go half way??

    Anyway, that's just me thinking aloud.
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