by Deacon Blues
It now appears that House Republicans will make every effort to pass a meaningless "deport the kids" measure today, and then pass a second bill to prevent the president from granting more permanent status to immigrant children who've been in the country for years. The net result, as Harry Reid noted today is that "House Republicans will vote to deport children who have been living in the United States their entire lives."
Operationally, these votes are irrelevant because the Senate has left town and nothing legislatively will happen on these issues until later in the year, if then. All of the outrage from congressional Republicans last month wasn't sincere, simply political pandering and victimization of these juveniles. But that doesn't let Democrats off the hook either. The Senate had a chance yesterday to put real pressure on the House if they had been able to pass their own proposal out of the chamber and send it over while the House dithered. Instead, Harry Reid prevented the GOP from offering any amendments to the bill, knowing that it would incite them to do what they did, which was kill the Senate from acting.
As for the president, he's contributed to the impasse by talking up unilateral executive action on granting thousands of juveniles protection from immediate deportation, knowing that this would also incite the GOP. The White House should have simply shut up instead of openly talking something up for political advantage. And to make sure the House GOP leadership goes ahead today with these votes, Obama preemptively attacked them a short while ago. It doesn't mean his criticisms are without merit: John Boehner and Kevin McCarthy are abdicating their responsibilities and making things worse. It's just that Obama himself is not blameless here.
While the operational impacts from today's meaningless House votes are minimal, it remains to be seen how House GOP incumbents in purple districts will be affected by their votes today politically. Yet we should all have known better that the only calculation that mattered to this Congress and this White House at the end of the day is the political calculation; the kids be damned.