Capitol Building

Morning Action: House Gets Closer to “Bipartisan” Immigration Reform Deal

AMNESTY.  A House group composed of Democrats and Republicans is poised to unveil its own immigration reform bill. The House wants to take a more piece-by-piece approach than the Senate comprehensive amnesty bill.  Nonetheless, it is still unclear how similar this bill will be to the Senate’s amnesty bill:

The House bipartisan group, which has labored for four years without releasing anything, is finally on the verge of producing a bill. The House Judiciary Committee is holding its first immigration markup on Tuesday on an enforcement-centered bill that Democrats abhor.

And the all-Democratic Congressional Hispanic Caucus will huddle with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday, and immigration will undoubtedly be a hot topic.

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) wants immigration reform to pass and apparently plans to move immigration reform by capitalizing on divisions among conservatives:

The rare split inside the conservative wing of Boehner’s Republican conference offers him an uncommon opportunity to bring a bill to the floor without facing an insurrection among his members. It also means convincing enough conservatives that passing some immigration measure won’t be preamble to the Senate using compromise negotiations to jam a more liberal version down the House’s throat.

FARM BILL. Though cuts to food stamps in the “farm” bill are miniscule and insufficient, the White House has threatened to veto the bill largely because of cuts to the food stamp program.  However, the White House does support additional cuts to the federal crop insurance program (sub. req’d):

Democrats offered proposals to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program from the legislation’s $20.5 billion in spending reductions for it over 10 years. Rep. Suzan DelBene, a Washington state Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, would preserve eligibility for free school lunches to children who qualified for the subsidy because their families qualified for SNAP under eligibility requirements that would be changed by the bill. The parents and siblings of eligible children would also retain their SNAP benefits.

The White House weighed in Monday evening with a veto threat of the bill, citing the proposed cuts to SNAP as a strong reason.

“The Administration strongly opposes the harmful cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a cornerstone of our Nation’s food assistance safety net. The bill makes unacceptable deep cuts in SNAP, which could increase hunger among millions of Americans who are struggling to make ends meet, including families with children and senior citizens,” the statement of administration policy said.

The Obama administration also said Congress could find reductions in the federal crop insurance program instead.

It is unclear whether the bill has enough support to pass:

Still, stakeholders on and off Capitol Hill could not predict on Monday afternoon whether the measure would have the votes to pass in the face of opposition from conservative groups that generally see the farm bill as a big government boondoggle, including the Heritage Foundation and the Club for Growth, and liberal groups opposed to the cuts to food stamps.

OBAMACARE. President Obama is using grassroots tactics to implement help implement Obamacare:

President Barack Obama brought a campaigner’s mindset to the White House — but the roll-out of Obamacare marks the first time he’s adapted his campaign’s groundbreaking grassroots tactics to the task of turning policy into reality.

A trio of Obama’s most experienced campaign operatives — one in the West Wing, two others in outside groups closely allied with Obama — are overseeing an effort to ensure that the Affordable Care Act, the president’s biggest legacy project, doesn’t turn into the failure the GOP predicts it will be.

The effort is about to ramp up. One of the main outreach campaigns – by Enroll America, a nonprofit coalition run by Obama administration allies – is set to launch on Tuesday. The help can’t come too soon for the organizers on the ground, who have been nervously waiting for real details they can give to the millions of uninsured they have to reach.

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