By Michael J.W. Stickings
The man running for re-election this year -- and that's important to keep in mind here (he's got a Tea Party to appease, after all) -- is once more playing the obstructionist card:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday said immigration reform poses an "irresolvable conflict" between the two chambers and predicted that it won't be completed in 2014.
"I think we have a sort of irresolvable conflict here," he told reporters at his weekly press conference. "The Senate insists on comprehensive [reform], the House says it won't go to conference with the Senate on comprehensive, and wants to look at step-by-step [reform]. I don't see how you get to an outcome this year with the two bodies in such different places."
The Republican leader, who is facing re-election this year, declined to take a position on the House GOP's broad blueprint for reform that was released by leadership last week. It calls for legal status (but not necessarily with the promise of citizenship) for people living in the country illegally.
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Tuesday that House Republican leaders are still discussing the issue with members and haven't yet decided on how to proceed when it comes to advancing immigration legislation.
He may well be right. Maybe there won't be immigration reform in 2014. Maybe the differences between the House and Senate, between the White House and Congress, between Democrats and Republicans, are just too great.
But McConnell has pursued an agenda of all-out obstructionism since the very start of the Obama presidency, refusing to give the president anything that might be considered a win for him, and he now seems to be refusing even to try to bridge the differences on immigration reform, even though there do appear to be areas of possible overlap between the two sides.
House Republicans, an impotent leadership barely managing an extremist caucus, are bad enough. There's really no dealing with them at all on most things, and of course they continue to push their crazy agenda and various conspiracy theories. But it's hardly much better in the Senate, where even a somewhat more moderate Republican caucus has basically given up on any effort to help Democrats, including the president, govern the country, so entrenched has their obstructionism become.
McConnell is basically leading a disloyal opposition that puts party well before country. He's as much a face of today's Republican Party as any of the hardcore Tea Party extremists who dominate its far-right ideological agenda.
Labels: immigration reform, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Republicans