Immigration reform is up—Obama has leverage—that’s key to overcome gop obstructionism Jeff Mason

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Immigration reform is up—Obama has leverage—that’s key to overcome GOP obstructionism

Jeff Mason, Reuters, 10/19/13, Analysis: Despite budget win, Obama has weak hand with Congress ,

Democrats believe, however, that Obama's bargaining hand may be strengthened by the thrashing Republicans took in opinion polls over their handling of the shutdown.

"This shutdown re-emphasized the overwhelming public demand for compromise and negotiation. And that may open up a window," said Ben LaBolt, Obama's 2012 campaign spokesman and a former White House aide.

"There's no doubt that some Republican members (of Congress) are going to oppose policies just because the president's for it. But the hand of those members was significantly weakened."

If he does have an upper hand, Obama is likely to apply it to immigration reform. The White House had hoped to have a bill concluded by the end of the summer. A Senate version passed with bipartisan support earlier this year but has languished in the Republican-controlled House.

"It will be hard to move anything forward, unless the Republicans find the political pain of obstructionism too much to bear," said Doug Hattaway, a Democratic strategist and an adviser to Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.

"That may be the case with immigration - they'll face pressure from business and Latinos to advance immigration reform," he said.

Obama’s push locks-up a House vote, but the window is narrow

Bill Scher, The Week, 10/18/13, How to make John Boehner cave on immigration,

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) generally adheres to the unwritten Republican rule that bars him from allowing votes on bills opposed by a majority of Republicans, even if they would win a majority of the full House.

But he's caved four times this year, allowing big bills to pass with mainly Democratic support. They include repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans; providing Hurricane Sandy relief; expanding the Violence Against Women act to better cover immigrants, Native Americans, and LGBT survivors of abuse; and this week's bill raising the debt limit and reopening the federal government.

Many presume the Republican House is a black hole sucking President Obama's second-term agenda into oblivion. But the list of Boehner's past retreats offers a glimmer of hope, especially to advocates of immigration reform. Though it has languished in the House, an immigration overhaul passed with bipartisan support in the Senate, and was given a fresh push by Obama in the aftermath of the debt limit deal.

The big mystery that immigration advocates need to figure out: What makes Boehner cave? Is there a common thread? Is there a sequence of buttons you can push that forces Boehner to relent?

Two of this year's caves happened when Boehner was backed up against hard deadlines: The Jan. 1 fiscal cliff and the Oct. 17 debt limit. Failure to concede meant immediate disaster. Reject the bipartisan compromise on rolling back the Bush tax cuts, get blamed for jacking up taxes on every taxpayer. Reject the Senate's three-month suspension of the debt limit, get blamed for sparking a global depression. Boehner held out until the absolute last minute both times, but he was not willing to risk blowing the deadline.

A third involved the response to an emergency: Hurricane Sandy. Conservative groups were determined to block disaster relief because — as with other federal disaster responses — the $51 billion legislative aid package did not include offsetting spending cuts. Lacking Republican votes, Boehner briefly withdrew the bill from consideration, unleashing fury from New York and New Jersey Republicans, including Gov. Chris Christie. While there wasn't a hard deadline to meet, disaster relief was a time-sensitive matter, and the pressure from Christie and his allies was unrelenting. Two weeks after pulling the bill, Boehner put it on the floor, allowing it to pass over the objections of 179 Republicans.

The fourth cave occurred in order to further reform and expand a government program: The Violence Against Women Act. The prior version of the law had been expired for over a year, as conservatives in the House resisted the Senate bill in the run-up to the 2012 election. But after Mitt Romney suffered an 18-point gender gap in his loss to Obama, and after the new Senate passed its version again with a strong bipartisan vote, Boehner was unwilling to resist any longer. Two weeks later, the House passed the Senate bill with 138 Republicans opposed.

Unfortunately for immigration advocates, there is no prospect of widespread pain if reform isn't passed. There is no immediate emergency, nor threat of economic collapse.

But there is a deadline of sorts: The 2014 midterm elections.

If we've learned anything about Boehner this month, it's that he's a party man to the bone. He dragged out the shutdown and debt limit drama for weeks, without gaining a single concession, simply so his most unruly and revolutionary-minded members would believe he fought the good fight and stay in the Republican family. What he won is party unity, at least for the time being.

What Boehner lost for his Republicans is national respectability. Republican Party approval hit a record low in both the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll and Gallup poll.

Here's where immigration advocates have a window of opportunity to appeal to Boehner's party pragmatism. Their pitch: The best way to put this disaster behind them is for Republicans to score a big political victory. You need this.

A year after the Republican brand was so bloodied that the Republican National Committee had to commission a formal "autopsy," party approval is the worst it has ever been. You've wasted a year. Now is the time to do something that some voters will actually like.

There's reason to hope he could be swayed. In each of the four cases in which he allowed Democrats to carry the day, he put the short-term political needs of the Republican Party over the ideological demands of right-wing activists.

Boehner will have to do another round of kabuki. He can't simply swallow the Senate bill in a day. There will have to be a House version that falls short of activists' expectations, followed by tense House-Senate negotiations. Probably like in the most formulaic of movies, and like the fiscal cliff and debt limit deals, there will have to be an "all-is-lost moment" right before we get to the glorious ending. Boehner will need to given the room to do all this again.

But he won't do it without a push. A real good push.
The plan reverses these dynamics—sparks an inter-branch fight derailing the agenda

Douglas Kriner, Assistant Profess of Political Science at Boston University, 2010, After the Rubicon: Congress, Presidents, and the Politics of Waging War, p. 67-69

Raising or Lowering Political Costs by Affecting Presidential Political Capital

Shaping both real and anticipated public opinion are two important ways in which Congress can raise or lower the political costs of a military action for the president. However, focusing exclusively on opinion dynamics threatens to obscure the much broader political consequences of domestic reaction—particularly congressional opposition—to presidential foreign policies. At least since Richard Neustadt's seminal work Presidential Power, presidency scholars have warned that costly political battles in one policy arena frequently have significant ramifications for presidential power in other realms. Indeed, two of Neustadt's three "cases of command"—Truman's seizure of the steel mills and firing of General Douglas MacArthur—explicitly discussed the broader political consequences of stiff domestic resistance to presidential assertions of commander-in-chief powers. In both cases, Truman emerged victorious in the case at hand—yet, Neustadt argues, each victory cost Truman dearly in terms of his future power prospects and leeway in other policy areas, many of which were more important to the president than achieving unconditional victory over North Korea."

While congressional support leaves the president's reserve of political capital intact, congressional criticism saps energy from other initiatives on the home front by forcing the president to expend energy and effort defending his international agenda. Political capital spent shoring up support for a president's foreign policies is capital that is unavailable for his future policy initiatives. Moreover, any weakening in the president's political clout may have immediate ramifications for his reelection prospects, as well as indirect consequences for congressional races." Indeed, Democratic efforts to tie congressional Republican incumbents to President George W. Bush and his war policies paid immediate political dividends in the 2006 midterms, particularly in states, districts, and counties that had suffered the highest casualty rates in the Iraq War.6°

In addition to boding ill for the president's perceived political capital and reputation, such partisan losses in Congress only further imperil his programmatic agenda, both international and domestic. Scholars have long noted that President Lyndon Johnson's dream of a Great Society also perished in the rice paddies of Vietnam. Lacking both the requisite funds in a war-depleted treasury and the political capital needed to sustain his legislative vision, Johnson gradually let his domestic goals slip away as he hunkered down in an effort first to win and then to end the Vietnam War. In the same way, many of President Bush's highest second-term domestic priorities, such as Social Security and immigration reform, failed perhaps in large part because the administration had to expend so much energy and effort waging a rear-guard action against congressional critics of the war in Iraq.

When making their cost-benefit calculations, presidents surely consider these wider political costs of congressional opposition to their military policies. If congressional opposition in the military arena stands to derail other elements of his agenda, all else being equal, the president will be more likely to judge the benefits of military action insufficient to its costs than if Congress stood behind him in the international arena
Key to the economy and heg

Javier Palomarez, Forbes, 3/6/13, The Pent Up Entrepreneurship That Immigration Reform Would Unleash,

The main difference between now and 2007 is that today the role of immigrants and their many contributions to the American economy have been central in the country’s national conversation on the issue. Never before have Latinos been so central to the election of a U.S. President as in 2012. New evidence about the economic importance of immigration reform, coupled with the new political realities presented by the election, have given reform a higher likelihood of passing. As the President & CEO of the country’s largest Hispanic business association, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), which advocates for the interests of over 3 million Hispanic owned businesses, I have noticed that nearly every meeting I hold with corporate leaders now involves a discussion of how and when immigration reform will pass. The USHCC has long seen comprehensive immigration reform as an economic imperative, and now the wider business community seems to be sharing our approach. It is no longer a question of whether it will pass. Out of countless conversations with business leaders in virtually every sector and every state, a consensus has emerged: our broken and outdated immigration system hinders our economy’s growth and puts America’s global leadership in jeopardy. Innovation drives the American economy, and without good ideas and skilled workers, our country won’t be able to transform industries or to lead world markets as effectively as it has done for decades. Consider some figures: Immigrant-owned firms generate an estimated $775 billion in annual revenue, $125 billion in payroll and about $100 billion in income. A study conducted by the New American Economy found that over 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants or children of immigrants. Leading brands, like Google, Kohls, eBay, Pfizer, and AT&T, were founded by immigrants. Researchers at the Kauffman Foundation released a study late last year showing that from 2006 to 2012, one in four engineering and technology companies started in the U.S. had at least one foreign-born founder — in Silicon Valley it was almost half of new companies. There are an estimated 11 million undocumented workers currently in the U.S. Imagine what small business growth in the U.S. would look like if they were provided legal status, if they had an opportunity for citizenship. Without fear of deportation or prosecution, imagine the pent up entrepreneurship that could be unleashed. After all, these are people who are clearly entrepreneurial in spirit to have come here and risk all in the first place. Immigrants are twice as likely to start businesses as native-born Americans, and statistics show that most job growth comes from small businesses. While immigrants are both critically-important consumers and producers, they boost the economic well-being of native-born Americans as well. Scholars at the Brookings Institution recently described the relationship of these two groups of workers as complementary. This is because lower-skilled immigrants largely take farming and other manual, low-paid jobs that native-born workers don’t usually want. For example, when Alabama passed HB 56, an immigration law in 2012 aimed at forcing self-deportation, the state lost roughly $11 billion in economic productivity as crops were left to wither and jobs were lost. Immigration reform would also address another important angle in the debate – the need to entice high-skilled immigrants. Higher-skilled immigrants provide talent that high-tech companies often cannot locate domestically. High-tech leaders recently organized a nationwide “virtual march for immigration reform” to pressure policymakers to remove barriers that prevent them from recruiting the workers they need. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, fixing immigration makes sound fiscal sense. Economist Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda calculated in 2010 that comprehensive immigration reform would add $1.5 trillion to the country’s GDP over 10 years and add $66 billion in tax revenue – enough to fully fund the Small Business Administration and the Departments of the Treasury and Commerce for over two years. As Congress continues to wring its hands and debate the issue, lawmakers must understand what both businesses and workers already know: The American economy needs comprehensive immigration reform.
Heg solves nuclear war

Barnett ‘11

Thomas, American military geostrategist and Chief Analyst at Wikistrat, “The New Rules: Leadership Fatigue Puts U.S., and Globalization, at Crossroads,”, AM

Let me be more blunt: As the guardian of globalization, the U.S. military has been the greatest force for peace the world has ever known. Had America been removed from the global dynamics that governed the 20th century, the mass murder never would have ended. Indeed, it's entirely conceivable there would now be no identifiable human civilization left, once nuclear weapons entered the killing equation. But the world did not keep sliding down that path of perpetual war. Instead, America stepped up and changed everything by ushering in our now-perpetual great-power peace. We introduced the international liberal trade order known as globalization and played loyal Leviathan over its spread. What resulted was the collapse of empires, an explosion of democracy, the persistent spread of human rights, the liberation of women, the doubling of life expectancy, a roughly 10-fold increase in adjusted global GDP and a profound and persistent reduction in battle deaths from state-based conflicts. That is what American "hubris" actually delivered.

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