From AP, the latest on HR 4437:
House Republicans tried to close ranks Thursday over an illegal immigration bill that some complained wasn’t tough enough and others said was inadequate because it didn’t include a guest worker program.
“There’s kind of a left-right coalition against it,” said Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., with some opposed because of the absence of a guest worker program and others saying they didn’t want legislation that could open the door for a program that some consider equivalent to amnesty.
CQ’s story this afternoon notes:
House GOP leaders scrambled Thursday afternoon to salvage a border security and immigration bill that appeared headed to defeat because of objections from several factions of Republicans….
GOP leaders, facing the embarrassment of a defeat on the rule for the bill, postponed a planned afternoon vote on the first rule and called a meeting of the entire Republican caucus.
(Also of note: the House Rules Committee site has the full list of amendments which were offered to it yesterday.)
The reality right now is there’s a long way to go in this debate, and any outcome is going to be messy. The differences of opinion on immigration and border security issues are so wide on some issues that they really can’t be negotiated or reconciled. The Senate isn’t taking this up until February, and will likely be favoring a position closer to the Administration’s, and supporting a bill that includes a guest worker program. But the appetite in the House for a guest worker program remains weak, and a compromise on this will be difficult…unless the White House decides to sideline its own party’s leaders in the House. My sense now is that it’s quite possible that no legislation will be pass in 2006, or if it does, it will be a very minimal bill focused on the few things that most members agree on, such as more guards and investments in technology at the southern border, and more money to enforce existing laws related to the employment of illegal workers.
In any case, it will be interesting to follow. Come back for updates – I’ll be posting on this regularly.