June 9, 2007

Harry Reid, National Man Of Mystery

The Washington Post reports that the comprehensive immigration reform bill may still rise from the dead as its backers try to cobble together agreement on process. Republicans want ample time to amend the bill and debate the various adjustments, while the Democrats want to spend as little time as possible working on what they see as a White House initiative. Harry Reid has become the center of the puzzle, as people question his real motivations:

Republican and Democratic negotiators believe they can reach agreement by early next week on the official sticking point: which conservative amendments would be considered before final passage. The list must be short enough for time-conscious Democrats, yet substantive enough for Republicans demanding to be heard.

But a second act will come only if Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) allows the immigration issue to return to the floor. And exactly where Reid stands on the bill is one of the many mysteries left smoldering after Thursday's defeat. ...

Reid's motives have been a question mark from day one. Spokesman Jim Manley said his boss was prepared to support the immigration bill on final passage. But advocates had their doubts, given Reid's determination to limit debate, and the green light he gave to one of the bill's Democratic critics to twice offer an amendment to end a guest-worker program after five years. Supporters of the immigration bill viewed the measure, which passed on the second try, as a poison pill.

Whither Reid? He did extend debate on the bill, only reluctantly, after Republicans threatened a filibuster over the original schedule demanded by the bill's authors. He added an extra week and warned that he would not allow the bill to come back if they could not get to a floor vote by that deadline. After cloture went down to defeat in two bipartisan votes, Reid backed away from that statement, offering to allow it to return later in the session.

At the same time, as the Post notes, he allowed Byron Dorgan two bites at the poison pill. The effort to strip the guest worker program out of the bill actually failed the first time Dorgan tried it. The second time, in which he added a five-year sunset provision to kill it later, he surprisingly succeeded, in large measure from efforts by Jim DeMint and other bill opponents to latch onto any poison pill they felt would succeed. Why Reid gave Dorgan a second chance is a question only Reid can answer -- but it undoubtedly killed the bill, and Reid had to know that it would.

Harry Reid remains the key, although in a limited way. He can kill the bill or let it rise again, but he can't get it passed by himself. We will have to wait and see which way he goes, and that will depend in no small manner in how he perceives the White House to cooperate with him and the Democrats this summer. He knows Bush wants this bill badly, and Reid will want to exact a high price to resurrect it.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (7)

Posted by tgharris | June 9, 2007 9:41 AM

Dubya may want the bill badly, but I don't think he's holding the reins on this one.

Posted by ggeisel | June 9, 2007 10:23 AM

I'm with Rush Limbaugh on this. Reid keeps saying this is a White House bill and wants to pin its failure on the WH. It also is so unpopular with the electorate that he may just be able to tar all Republicans with it. He may fail: Reid's fingerprints are all over it and he's not that bright, anyway. A lovely outcome, too, otherwise: Bush's arrogance and indifference to the conservative base is revealed and may inspire a true conservative to step forward in the Republican party, and John McCain is finished.

Posted by tgkeason | June 9, 2007 10:48 AM

Senator Kyle's editorial in the Wall Street Journal states that the reason he is pushing the compromise is his concern about "the lack of respect for the rule of law" if nothing is done. The truth is this new law turns the respect for the rule of law into a laughing stock as illegal immigrants will be given legal status despite the fact they have broken our current laws and in many instances committed even more serious crimes that they will not be held accoutable for should this law pass. It seems to me that a better name for this proposed law is the "Terrorist"s Are Welcome Here Law".

Posted by sherlock | June 9, 2007 2:42 PM

If W had any brains he would just shrug his shoulders and say, "Well, I guess the time was just not right." Harry Reid can spout all he wants about it being a White House bill, but nobody is going to fall for that with Teddy's fingerprints all over it. Harry would be left holding the tar-baby.

Unfortunately, I am no longer sure W has any brains. I am beginning to think that his idea of an "unfinished legacy" is when your six-shooter is emply, but you still have 4 toes left!

Posted by Fight4TheRight | June 9, 2007 3:22 PM

I have two words for Senator Harry Reid.

Grow Up.

Posted by Carol Herman | June 9, 2007 6:08 PM

The WaPo LIES!

Plus, they can't do math.

Harry Ried just got trounced. Even though he sits in the majority chair; ALL he got for votes on "cloture" so the bill could get out of the toilet; were 40 votes. And, on the second try: 45.

You also learned that Trent Lott owes John McCain "stuff." Or Trent Lott is as dumb as people have claimed.

So, if you want to count "who'd keep the bill, alive," you'd see a bunch of losers.

What we don't see, of course, is that when someone loses they don't leave the stage.

Ron Paul will continue to be there.

Ditto McCain.

Doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

The next "big" senate topic coming up? Probably whose gonna go for Ruth Bader Ginsberg's Supreme-O chair?

And, don't forget. While the senators are learning what it's like to skate on thin ice; and the dude in the White House, may or may not know how to extracate himself from the mess he's in ...

Let alone who we're letting Turkey beat up on the Kurds. Excuse me? Bush attends meetings? The man's a waste of time! Even when the issues are CLEAR; you can still see the Realtor for the House of Saud, manipulating.

Ya know, back in 1992, when Bill Clinton replaced Bush the elder, Dubya got enraged.

Again, we're not given any pictures of what its like to be on McCain's staff (other than that some staffers are quitting.)

Could you say the same about Bush's White House? It's got staff holes in it right now.

Sure. If our press was better, you'd hear stories. (As Nixon's presidency collapsed, there were plenty of stories, ya know?)

Posted by Gary Gross | June 9, 2007 10:19 PM

One thing I'd recommend is that Republicans guarantee a filibuster if several of their priorities aren't in a future bill from the start. Those items would be:

1. mandating the building of 600 miles of the fence before anything else happens.
2. USCIS would be built up so that they could handle the paperwork that normalization will require.

Anything that doesn't have those things in the bill should be immediately filibustered.