Daily Updates

June 17, 2013

Immigration bill could decide 2016, senator says

WASHINGTON — Republicans’ hopes to reclaim the White House in the 2016 elections hinge on whether they support — or sabotage — the immigration overhaul being debated in the Senate, two lawmakers who helped write the proposal warn.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Sunday told conservatives who are trying to block the measure that they will doom the party and all but guarantee a Democrat will remain in the White House after 2016’s election. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., went a step further and predicted “there’ll never be a road to the White House for the Republican Party” if immigration overhaul fails to pass.

The Senate is moving forward with an overhaul and appears to be on track to have a vote from the full Senate by July 4. A timeline for a House proposal is less certain, although leaders say they are working on plans that more closely follow conservatives’ wish list.

The Senate last week overcame a procedural hurdle in moving forward on the first immigration overhaul in a generation. Lawmakers from both parties voted to begin formal debate on a proposal that would give an estimated 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally a long and difficult path to citizenship.

The Senate legislation also creates a low-skilled guest-worker program, expands the number of visas available for high-tech workers and de-emphasizes family ties in the system for legal immigration that has been in place for decades. It also sets border security goals that the government must meet before immigrants living in the U.S. illegally are granted any change in status.

Meanwhile, one of the proposal’s authors, who is considering a White House campaign, refused again to pledge support for the measure without changes conservatives have demanded.

“I think 95, 96 percent of the bill is in perfect shape and ready to go. But there are elements that need to be improved,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

Republicans are demanding tougher border security measures and stricter standards for who qualifies for government programs such as Social Security and health care.

Rubio is trying to balance concerns from his party’s conservative flank, which has great sway in picking a nominee, with the political attempt to win over Hispanic and Asian-American voters who overwhelmingly favored President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012. Further complicating Rubio’s presidential aspirations, the Republican-led House hews toward tea partyers.

“After eight years of President Obama’s economic policies, and, quite frankly, foreign policy, people are going to be looking around,” Graham said. “But if we don’t pass immigration reform, if we don’t get it off the table in a reasonable, practical way, it doesn’t matter who you run in 2016. We’re in a demographic death spiral as a party and the only way we can get back in good graces with the Hispanic community, in my view, is pass comprehensive immigration reform. If you don’t do that, it really doesn’t matter who we run.”

In 2012, Obama won re-election with the backing of 71 percent of Hispanic voters and 73 percent of Asian voters. A thwarted immigration overhaul could again send those voting blocs to Democrats’ side. That has led some Republican lawmakers to support immigration reform, but the party’s conservative base still opposes any legislation that would create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living here illegally.

Democrats are well aware of the numbers.

“I would tell my Republican colleagues, both in the House and the Senate, that the road to the White House comes through a road with a pathway to legalization,” Menendez said. “Without it, there’ll never be a road to the White House for the Republican Party.”

Graham spoke on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Menendez was interviewed on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Rubio was on ABC’s “This Week.”

———

Follow Philip Elliott on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/philip—elliott

 

1
Text Only
Daily Updates
  • In Other News, April 24

    April 24, 2014

  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors

    An Afghan government security guard opened fire Thursday on a group of foreign doctors at a Kabul hospital, killing three American physicians and wounding a U.S. nurse, officials said.

    April 24, 2014

  • Nevada rancher condemned for racist remarks

     A Nevada rancher who has become a conservative folk hero for resisting the federal government’s attempts to round up his cattle faced sharp criticism Thursday for racist comments published in a New York Times article.

    April 24, 2014

  • NRA seeks universal gun law at national meeting

    With concealed weapons now legal in all 50 states, the National Rifle Association’s focus at this week’s annual meeting is less about enacting additional state protections than on making sure the permits already issued still apply when the gun owners travel across the country.

    April 24, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Thursday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday.

    April 23, 2014

  • In Other News, April 23

    April 23, 2014

  • US weighs clemency for inmates jailed for 10 years

    The Justice Department is encouraging nonviolent federal inmates who have behaved in prison, have no significant criminal history and have already served more than 10 years behind bars to apply for clemency, officials announced Wednesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • High court tosses $3.4M award to child porn victim

    The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a plea to make it easier for victims of child pornography to collect money from people who view their images online, throwing out a nearly $3.4 million judgment in favor of a woman whose childhood rape has been widely seen on the Internet. Two dissenting justices said Congress should change the law to benefit victims.

    April 23, 2014

  • Airport security vulnerabilities not uncommon

    For all the tens of billions of dollars that the nation has spent on screening passengers and their bags, few airports made a comparable investment to secure the airplanes themselves.

    April 23, 2014

  • Deal signs bill expanding gun rights in Georgia

    Gov. Nathan Deal has signed legislation expanding where people with licenses to carry can bring their guns in Georgia.

    April 23, 2014

AP Video