John Judis worries that Raúl Labrador’s leaving the “Congressional Gang of Eight” shows a lack of commitment to immigration reform among Republicans:
After speaking with people familiar with the House negotiations, including people on the Hill, I have finally discovered what happened, and it doesn’t reflect well on Labrador or on the right-wing Republicans whose views he represents. After agreeing to the outlines of the Senate bill, Labrador insisted that the House version require that those 12 million undocumented immigrants who will become registered provisional immigrants (RPIs) not only purchase health insurance without any subsidies, but also be responsible for whatever additional healthcare costs, including emergency care, that they incur. According to Labrador’s approach, if they fail to pay their healthcare bills, they would be subject to deportation. …
Labrador’s defection, combined with wavering from Rubio, indicates a lack of urgency among House and Senate Republicans to pass any bill at all.
Dylan Matthews, meanwhile, talks to Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) about how he’d like to resolve Labrador’s defection:
I’d like to go to what we had agreed to originally, which is that the folks [on the path to citizenship] have to have private insurance. But the method is less important to me than the pretty clear expectation from the American people that these folks, the formerly undocumented people, are not a public charge, to local hospitals or local government. The best way to do that is what we agreed to, in a bipartisan way, before. We’ll have to see where we move forward.
Diaz-Balart believes that the immigration issue “is the most controversial issue you could ever get involved in”:
There’s going to be pushback on everything, and that’s okay. I think what we have to do is try to come up with legislation based on basic principles, like protect the rule of law, help the economy, and our national security, and within that you have to have the components I told you about. And then see if you can put together a bill like that, that can receive bipartisan support. We’ll see if it’s possible. We’ll know soon enough and it was clearly possible two months ago. The pressure’s from outside, particularly from Nancy Pelosi, who’s jeopardizing everything, but I’m very optimistic. Cautiously optimistic, but optimistic.
Previous Dish on the Immigration bill negotiations here.
(Photo: U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) speak to members of the media during a news conference on immigration reform April 18, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. By Alex Wong/Getty Images.)