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Whatever happened to last year's breakout stars?
WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan group of House members that has been attempting for months to finalize a comprehensive immigration bill is encountering difficulties and trying to decide whether to split up or keep trying.
The four Democratic and four Republican lawmakers were meeting Thursday to see whether they could salvage a deal.
One member, Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, said the group couldn’t reach agreement on the question of health care coverage for immigrants living in the country illegally who would gain legal status under the bill. He said one possibility was the issue would be left out of the bipartisan bill entirely, allowing Republicans and Democrats in the group to offer their own plans on that aspect of the legislation.
A similar approach could be taken on a new lower-skilled worker program that’s also caused a problem for the eight lawmakers in the group, aides said.
Group members have been saying for months that they’re close to a deal, but they’ve yet to deliver. Other lawmakers and outside advocates fear they’re losing their window for having a voice in the debate if they don’t produce something soon. Attention in the immigration debate has focused on legislation released last month by leading lawmakers in the Senate, which is currently before the Senate Judiciary Committee for amendments and votes.
“I am concerned that the bipartisan group has been unable to wrap up their work,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters Thursday. “And I know that there are some very difficult issues that have come up. But I continue to believe that the House needs to deal with this and the House needs to work its will. How we get there, we’re still dealing with it.”
The members of the group have struggled to come up with a plan that could have a possibility of passing the Republican-controlled House while also satisfying Democrats in the group. They had discussed a path to citizenship that would take 15 years for the estimated 11 million people living here illegally, two years longer than contemplated by the Senate bill, which is backed by President Barack Obama.
But a few final details, including health coverage and temporary workers, have eluded resolution in recent weeks and threatened to block any final deal.
Overall, the legislation would share the same goals as the Senate plan: boosting border security, an increased focus on workplace enforcement, new means to allow workers to enter this country legally and the eventual prospect of citizenship for millions.
As the House group has bogged down, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., separately has moved forward with individual, narrowly focused bills on immigration, including one on workplace enforcement that was discussed at a hearing Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee held its third work session Thursday to plow through some 300 amendments to the Senate immigration legislation. The committee voted down an amendment by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, that would have required the implementation of an electronic employer ID verification system in 18 months, instead of the four years contemplated by the bill.
Republican Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — two of the bill’s Republican authors — voted with Democrats against the amendment, which was defeated 13 to 5. So did Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a potential swing vote on the bill.
Thursday’s committee action was low-key, but behind the scenes efforts were underway to reach a deal on a series of amendments by Hatch that would benefit the high-tech community by making it easier for companies to access and use H-1B visas, which go to highly skilled workers. The bill increases the supply of these visas but also adds in protections aimed at ensuring U.S. workers get the first shot at jobs, and tech companies have objected to some of those provisions, which have been championed by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a principle author of the bill, was working with Hatch to try to find a compromise but the issue was unlikely to be resolved before next week.
Republicans in the House group are Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, John Carter and Sam Johnson of Texas and Raul Labrador of Idaho. On the Democratic side are Reps. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, Zoe Lofgren and Xavier Becerra of California and John Yarmuth of Kentucky.
The star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” charmed practically everyone at the Oscars, where she was the youngest best actress nominee ever; she went on to film a remake of “Annie” opposite Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Jepsen, who had 2012’s song of the summer with “Call Me Maybe,” released the fifth and final single from her debut album in January 2013. She toured the U.S. in mid-2013 -- just as Daft Punk and Robin Thicke battled to succeed her as icons of the summer.
Honey Boo Boo
2012’s biggest reality star, the young pageant contestant Alana Thompson, had a quieter time this year, with a second season whose ratings were strong but whose buzz was a bit muted. America was, by now, accustomed to young Thompson, and outraged or scandalized reactions were reserved for other TLC programming, like “The Man With the 132-Pound Scrotum.”
Ocean missed out on the top Grammys for which he was nominated in early 2013; he bounced back quickly with featured appearances on albums by Kanye West, Jay Z and Beyoncé, and is at work on a new album. Things are looking up!
The “21 Jump Street” and “Magic Mike” star had a marginally less charmed 2013, with “White House Down” failing to connect with moviegoers and “Foxcatcher” delayed until next year. It may get worse before it gets better: His big 2014 sci-fi flick, “Jupiter Ascending,” looks … well, a little weird!
With their third album in 21 months hitting No. 1 immediately upon its fall 2013 release, the boy band that broke into America in 2012 would seem to be here to stay for a while. Still, they looked a bit nervous in their reaction shots during the Video Music Awards’ ‘N Sync reunion; maybe not this year, maybe not next, but eventually, the Justin of One Direction is going to break out. For now, though, things look good!
Lana Del Rey
The famously uncomfortable “Saturday Night Live” musical guest overcame endless mockery from 2012 to land her first top-10 hit in the summer of 2013 -- a remix of a year-old song, “Summertime Sadness.” As the co-writer of “Young and Beautiful,” the love theme from “The Great Gatsby,” Del Rey is such a front-runner for the best original song Oscar (last won by Adele) that there has been a direct-mail campaign to academy voters against her. The song was also played at the most romantic event of the year: Kanye West’s stadium marriage proposal to Kim Kardashian.
Wilson, who charmed fans of 2012’s “Pitch Perfect,” had a rockier 2013, with her sitcom “Super Fun Night” struggling creatively and in the ratings. Her next planned movies are both sequels, to “Kung Fu Panda” and -- hoping lightning will strike twice -- to “Pitch Perfect.”
Another 2012 music icon, Gotye won the record of the year trophy at the 2013 Grammys for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” He released no new singles in 2013, and has told the press he has been struggling to complete new material. Good luck, Gotye!
The golden boy of the 2012 Olympics, without feats of aquatic derring-do to distract the public this year, saw his always-tenuous persona completely shift from “amiable jock” into “utter dolt” with his E! reality series. Worst of all, the series was canceled.
In 2012, the young actress -- best known for her role in the indie “Winter’s Bone” and a supporting part in the “X-Men” franchise -- had marquee roles in the first “Hunger Games” film and in David O. Russell’s comedy “Silver Linings Playbook.” In 2013, she played to her strengths: After winning an Oscar, she starred in the second “Hunger Games” movie, on whose publicity tour she managed to charm everyone in America, and had another role in a David O. Russell comedy, “American Hustle,” for which she might just win ANOTHER Oscar. By 2014, she may end up running a major studio, or serving as president.
The breakout bikini model of 2012 made a repeat appearance on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue -- and got to do high-fashion spreads in Elle, Vogue and Vanity Fair. She was cast in a Cameron Diaz comedy, too. Some types of appeal are eternal!
E. L. James
The “50 Shades” novelist now gets to help share some input into a movie adaptation set for release in 2015. She probably never needs to work again! Isn’t that great? Isn’t that … just … great?
The “Gangnam Style” phenom performed at New Year’s 2013, but will spend New Year’s 2014 flipping channels to find his pistachio ad, his goofy antics having been outdone in the past year by “The Fox” singers Ylvis. Nothing meme can stay.
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