Despite the Republican Party’s recent unveiling of its much-hyped list of immigration reform “principles,” it’s looking more and more like Congress’ chances of passing reform in 2014 are slim-to-none.
One of the first tell-tale signs was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s declaration on Tuesday that congressional debates about reform had ended up in an “irresolvable conflict.”
Another indicator: Tea Party Rep. Raúl Labrador’s Tuesday statement that an attempt by Speaker of the House John Boehner to bring immigration reform proposals to the floor “should cost him his speakership.”
Labrador went on to not-so-subtly criticize Boehner’s leaderhsip, telling Roll call that there was “a hunger in the conference for bold, visionary leaders.”
“[A]nd this is not just conservatives,” he continued, “you talk to more middle-of-the-road members of the conference, they’re kind of frustrated with the direction of this leadership, and they’re looking for ways to change that.”
Labrador went on the describe Boehner as “pragmatic,” as someone who “understands how Washington works” and as a “steady hand.” But in Tea Party circles, these phrases are not necessarily meant to be of praise.
“[W]hat I respect about him is that I don’t think he wants to change who he is,” Labrador said, in a bit of a back-handed compliment. He described Boehner’s consistency as “actually something to be lauded.”
Yet Labrador’s opposition to immigration reform is intimately tied together with his broader critique of GOP leadership. After hearing National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden suggest the House not take up reform until after primary season is over, Labrador called the plan “such an evil way of doing legislation.”
“To actually openly admit that what you’re going to do is pull the wool over people’s eyes, I think that’s offensive,” he continued. “And that’s not what I’m for. That’s not why I came here to Washington, D.C. And it saddens me that my own party thinks that it’s OK to do that.”