The date was June 27, 2013 when the United States Senate overwhelmingly passed a major bipartisan piece of legislation 68-32 that would have completely overhauled our immigration policies.
At the time, both Republicans and Democrats celebrated the passage of this bill because it was one of the few major pieces of bipartisan legislation where both sides came together and actually got something accomplished.
“The bipartisan bill that passed today was a compromise,” President Obama said at the time. “By definition, nobody got everything they wanted. Not Democrats. Not Republicans. Not me. But the Senate bill is consistent with the key principles for commonsense reform that I – and many others – have repeatedly laid out.”
We were on the precipice of our government, after years where it seemed like neither side could work together on anything, finally coming together on a major piece of bipartisan legislation that the president would sign into law.
All we needed was the House of Representatives to vote on it (where most experts believed there were enough Republicans who would vote with Democrats to pass the bill) and we would have passed comprehensive immigration reform.
But that’s the problem, because Speaker of the House John Boehner wouldn’t even let the bill come up for a vote. Knowing it would probably pass, his only option for killing it was to simply not allow the House to vote on it at all.
In other words, the reason why we don’t have congressional approved immigration reform right now is because John Boehner refused to let the House of Representatives vote on a bipartisan Senate bill that the president would have signed into law – because he knew it would pass if he allowed it to come up for a vote.
Last November, almost 5 months after the Senate passed their bipartisan immigration bill, Boehner said, “We’ve made it clear that we’re going to move on a common-sense, step-by-step approach in terms of how we deal with immigration. The idea that we’re going to take up a 1,300-page bill that no one had ever read, which is what the Senate did, is not going to happen in the House. And frankly, I’ll make clear we have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill.”
A year later, the House has done absolutely nothing in regards to addressing immigration.
So, here we had a bill that both Democrats and Republicans passed in the Senate with an overwhelming majority, a bill the president said he would sign, yet John Boehner flat-out refused to let the House vote on it and has done nothing in the House to even attempt to work on any kind of possible immigration reform.
And now he’s throwing a hissy fit because almost a year and a half after he refused to allow the House to vote on a bipartisan immigration bill passed by the Senate, Obama is sick and tired of watching the House sit there and do absolutely nothing.
Boehner said last year the House would work toward a “common-sense, step-by-step approach.” And by that I guess he meant that they would do absolutely nothing – because that’s exactly what they’ve done.
The reason why we haven’t passed immigration reform is 100 percent on John Boehner.
And since he likes to go on and on about “listening to the American people,” maybe it’s time he starts listening. Americans overwhelmingly support the immigration bill the Senate passed last year. The same bill Boehner wouldn’t even let the House vote on.
The truth is, the only reason why President Obama has decided to take executive action to do something about immigration is because John Boehner has refused to do anything about it. Either because he lacks the strength of leadership to get something done in the House, or because he’s blatantly refusing to do anything with the hope that it would force Obama’s hand.
Either way, Boehner has had plenty of time to try to get something done and he hasn’t. It’s time for the adults to take over and try to govern this country since House Republicans seem to have no interest in doing so.