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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Wondering What Happened to the House Gang of 7 Bill?

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Lots of attention has been focused on the individual bills being managed mainly by Republicans as part of the piecemeal strategy promoted by Congressman Goodlatte, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee. But the bipartisan bill worked on by the "Gang of 7" group of four Democrats and three Republicans hardly gets mentioned these days.

The low profile the bipartisan group has been taking may be deliberate, at least according to a story in the International Business Times. According to reporter Laura Matthews who spoke with a Democratic "close to the group", all the Democrats have signed off on the language and they are just waiting on the Republicans.

From the IBT:

When the Republicans give the OK, the group will wait for the “right bipartisan moment” to introduce the bill, probably sometime in October. By that time the bipartisan group hopes Congress will be over the budget fight, with an appropriations bill passed to avert the threat of a government shutdown.

“I think the work has been done,” the staffer said. “I think they've got a good proposal. I think they’re waiting to see whether there is any chance that a comprehensive bill is going to be looked at, or components of this bill could be looked at. But I think there are probably some additional machinations that have to happen first.”

At the moment, Democrats in particular are waiting to see what will become of the piecemeal bills being passed by the House Judiciary Committee, which they believe will ultimately fail because of their hard-right stance. By then House Republicans will need a solution to the problem and the comprehensive legislation will be on hand.

“So I think they are going to have a hard time getting 218 votes on the partisan bills that came out of Judiciary, but they might make a run at it,” the Democratic staffer said. “I think at some point in October there’s going to be a reevaluation of the strategy among Republicans, and at that point I think if enough of them are serious about getting
something done -- and I think there are enough of them, especially in the leadership -- then we will be at a bipartisan moment when they need to have a different approach that would get both Republicans and Democrats on the same bill.”

This sounds believable, but we've also heard several times before that the GO7 was done negotiating. We also have yet to hear anything sounding like Speaker Boehner would vary from his promise to block any votes on measures not likely to get a majority of Republican votes. But I do think that if Republicans are unable to move immigration legislation on their own, we'll see tremendous pressure to move the bipartisan bill (assuming one is actually finished by then).

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  1. George Chell's Avatar
    I agree with most of the assessment, but one has been left out. They are watching and reading the politcial tea leaves. If Cuccinelli a tea bagger favorite is beaten in VA, and if the Dems win at least two of the three races, the chances of any CIR passing is 50-50. If Cuccinelli wins all bets are off.
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