By jake Sherman & Ginger Gibson
Circle July 10 with red ink: It’s now the most important day for immigration reform.That Wednesday is when a hobbled, divided and raucous House Republican Conference will meet in the Capitol basement to figure out how to address the Senate-passed bill.
Lawmakers will have just returned from a week in their districts, hearing constituents react to the Senate plan. Leadership expects some will feel a compulsion to move quickly, and others will want to throw on the emergency brake.
But top GOP aides and lawmakers are privately skeptical that any immigration bill — even with beefed up border security — can get the support of 218 Republicans. Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team will ignore the Senate bill but know they can’t skip out on the issue altogether. They have to figure out what they’ll try to pass, when they’ll vote and how the bill will be packaged.
Boehner and his leadership colleagues are acutely aware of the political pressure that will build but don’t see immigration as time sensitive. They are comfortable with letting the process stretch until the end of the year.
It will all be tricky.
Key lawmakers have been meeting with groups of rank-and-file Republicans, but have had a difficult time reading what they call the “coalitions” — the pockets of opposition and support for the myriad proposals.