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Obama is using political capital to hammer the GOP on immigration – it will pass, but getting it to the floor is key

Epstein, 10/17/13 (Reid, Politico, “Obama’s latest push features a familiar strategy” http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/barack-obama-latest-push-features-familiar-strategy-98512.html)
President Barack Obama made his plans for his newly won political capital official — he’s going to hammer House Republicans on immigration. And it’s evident from his public and private statements that Obama’s latest immigration push is, in at least one respect, similar to his fiscal showdown strategy: yet again, the goal is to boost public pressure on House Republican leadership to call a vote on a Senate-passed measure.¶ “The majority of Americans think this is the right thing to do,” Obama said Thursday at the White House. “And it’s sitting there waiting for the House to pass it. Now, if the House has ideas on how to improve the Senate bill, let’s hear them. Let’s start the negotiations. But let’s not leave this problem to keep festering for another year, or two years, or three years. This can and should get done by the end of this year.”¶ And yet Obama spent the bulk of his 20-minute address taking whack after whack at the same House Republicans he’ll need to pass that agenda, culminating in a jab at the GOP over the results of the 2012 election — and a dare to do better next time.¶ “You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position,” Obama said. “Go out there and win an election. Push to change it. But don’t break it. Don’t break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building. That’s not being faithful to what this country’s about.”¶ Before the shutdown, the White House had planned a major immigration push for the first week in October. But with the shutdown and looming debt default dominating the discussion during the last month, immigration reform received little attention on the Hill.¶ Immigration reform allies, including Obama’s political arm, Organizing for Action, conducted a series of events for the weekend of Oct. 5, most of which received little attention in Washington due to the the shutdown drama. But activists remained engaged, with Dream Act supporters staging a march up Constitution Avenue, past the Capitol to the Supreme Court Tuesday, to little notice of the Congress inside.¶ Obama first personally signaled his intention to re-emerge in the immigration debate during an interview Tuesday with the Los Angeles Univision affiliate, conducted four hours before his meeting that day with House Democrats.¶ Speaking of the week’s fiscal landmines, Obama said: “Once that’s done, you know, the day after, I’m going to be pushing to say, call a vote on immigration reform.”¶ When he met that afternoon in the Oval Office with the House Democratic leadership, Obama said that he planned to be personally engaged in selling the reform package he first introduced in a Las Vegas speech in January.¶ Still, during that meeting, Obama knew so little about immigration reform’s status in the House that he had to ask Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) how many members of his own party would back a comprehensive reform bill, according to a senior Democrat who attended.¶ The White House doesn’t have plans yet for Obama to participate in any new immigration reform events or rallies — that sort of advance work has been hamstrung by the 16-day government shutdown.¶ But the president emerged on Thursday to tout a “broad coalition across America” that supports immigration reform. He also invited House Republicans to add their input specifically to the Senate bill — an approach diametrically different than the House GOP’s announced strategy of breaking the reform into several smaller bills.¶ White House press secretary Jay Carney echoed Obama’s remarks Thursday, again using for the same language on immigration the White House used to press Republicans on the budget during the shutdown standoff: the claim that there are enough votes in the House to pass the Senate’s bill now, if only it could come to a vote.¶ “When it comes to immigration reform … we’re confident that if that bill that passed the Senate were put on the floor of the House today, it would win a majority of the House,” Carney said. “And I think that it would win significant Republican votes.”

Consistent pressure and Dem unity are key to make Boehner allow a vote

Sullivan, 10/24/13 (Sean, “John Boehner's next big test: Immigration” Washington Post Blogs, The Fix, lexis)
President Obama delivered remarks Thursday morning to renew his call for Congress to pass sweeping immigration reform. The prevailing sentiment in Washington is that it’s not going to happen this year, and may not even happen next year.

But because of the last few weeks, it just might get done by early next year. It’s all up to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who by political necessity, must now at least consider leaning in more on immigration.

“Let’s see if we can get this done. And let’s see if we can get it done this year,” Obama said at the White House.

Fresh off a decisive defeat in the budget and debt ceiling showdown that cost the GOP big and won the party no major policy concessions from Democrats, Boehner was asked Wednesday about whether he plans to bring up immigration legislation during the limited time left on the 2013 legislative calendar. He didn’t rule it out.

“I still think immigration reform is an important subject that needs to be addressed. And I’m hopeful,” said Boehner.

The big question is whether the speaker’s hopefulness spurs him to press the matter legislatively or whether the cast-iron conservative members who oppose even limited reforms will dissuade him and extinguish his cautiously optimistic if noncommittal outlook.

Months ago, as House Republicans were slow-walking immigration after the Senate passed a broad bill, the latter possibility appeared the likelier bet. But times have changed. The position House Republicans adopted in the fiscal standoff badly damaged the party's brand. The GOP is reeling, searching desperately for a way to turn things around. That means Boehner, too, must look for ways to repair the damage.

And that's where immigration comes in. Even before the government shutdown showdown, a vocal part of the GOP (think Sen. John McCain) had been talking up the urgent need to do immigration reform or risk further alienating Hispanic voters. Now, amid hard times for the party driven by deeper skepticism from Democrats, independents and even some Republicans following the fiscal standoff, the political imperative is arguably even stronger.

The policy imperative already exists for some House Republicans -- perhaps enough of them that if Boehner allowed a vote, reform of some type could pass with a majority of House Democrats and a minority of House Republicans, as did last week's deal to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. (What specifically could pass and whether Obama could accept it is another question.)

What's not clear is whether Boehner would be willing to chart a path with less than majority GOP support again so soon after the last time and without his back against the wall as it was in the fiscal standoff.

This much we know: The White House and Senate Democrats will keep applying pressure on Boehner to act on immigration. Obama's planned remarks are the latest example of his plan. The speaker will be feeling external and internal pressure to move ahead on immigration.

But he will also feel pressure from conservatives to oppose it. Here's the thing, though: Boehner listened to the right flank of his conference in the fiscal fight, and that path was politically destructive for his party. That's enough to believe he will at least entertain the possibility of tuning the hard-liners out a bit more this time around.

The plan’s a perceived loss – it saps capital and causes defections

Loomis 7 Dr. Andrew J. Loomis is a Visiting Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and Department of Government at Georgetown University, “Leveraging legitimacy in the crafting of U.S. foreign policy”, March 2, 2007, pg 36-37, http://citation.allacademic.com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/1/7/9/4/8/pages179487/p179487-36.php
Declining political authority encourages defection. American political analyst Norman Ornstein writes of the domestic context, In a system where a President has limited formal power, perception matters. The reputation for success—the belief by other political actors that even when he looks down, a president will find a way to pull out a victory—is the most valuable resource a chief executive can have. Conversely, the widespread belief that the Oval Office occupant is on the defensive, on the wane or without the ability to win under adversity can lead to disaster, as individual lawmakers calculate who will be on the winning side and negotiate accordingly. In simple terms, winners win and losers lose more often than not. Failure begets failure. In short, a president experiencing declining amounts of political capital has diminished capacity to advance his goals. As a result, political allies perceive a decreasing benefit in publicly tying themselves to the president, and an increasing benefit in allying with rising centers of authority. A president’s incapacity and his record of success are interlocked and reinforce each other. Incapacity leads to political failure, which reinforces perceptions of incapacity. This feedback loop accelerates decay both in leadership capacity and defection by key allies. The central point of this review of the presidential literature is that the sources of presidential influence—and thus their prospects for enjoying success in pursuing preferred foreign policies—go beyond the structural factors imbued by the Constitution. Presidential authority is affected by ideational resources in the form of public perceptions of legitimacy. The public offers and rescinds its support in accordance with normative trends and historical patterns, non-material sources of power that affects the character of U.S. policy, foreign and domestic.

That wrecks Obama’s strategy

Milbank, 10/18/13 – Washington Post Opinion Writer (Dana, “Now, lead from the front” Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-now-lead-from-the-front/2013/10/18/56c1fd42-37fe-11e3-8a0e-4e2cf80831fc_story.html)
Obama got out in front of the shutdown and debt-ceiling standoff. He took a firm position — no negotiating — and he made his case to the country vigorously and repeatedly. Republicans miscalculated, assuming he would again give in. The result was the sort of decisive victory rarely seen in Washington skirmishes.¶ On Wednesday, Republicans surrendered. They opened the government and extended the debt limit with virtually no conditions. On Thursday, Obama rubbed their noses in it.¶ “You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election,” Obama taunted from the State Dining Room. “Push to change it, but don’t break it. Don’t break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building.”¶ Obama said “there are no winners” after the two-week standoff, but his opponents, particularly his tea party foes, clearly lost the most; seven in 10 Americans thought Republicans put party ahead of country. These “extremes” who “don’t like the word ‘compromise’ ” were the obvious target of Obama’s demand that we all “stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict.” (He did not mention newspaper columnists, so you are free to continue reading.)¶ The gloating was a bit unseemly, but the president is entitled to savor a victory lap. The more important thing is that Obama now maintain the forceful leadership that won him the budget and debt fights. In that sense, the rest of Obama’s speech had some worrisome indications that he was returning to his familiar position in the rear.¶ The agreement ending the shutdown requires Congress to come up with a budget by Dec. 13 . It’s a chance — perhaps Obama’s last chance — to tackle big issues such as tax reform and restructuring Medicare. The relative strength he gained over congressional Republicans during the shutdown left him in a dominant negotiating position. If he doesn’t use his power now to push through more of his agenda, he’ll lose his advantage. George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove called it the “perishability” of political capital.¶ But instead of being forceful, Obama was vague. He spoke abstractly about “the long-term obligations that we have around things like Medicare and Social Security.” He was similarly elliptical in saying he wants “a budget that cuts out the things that we don’t need, closes corporate tax loopholes that don’t help create jobs, and frees up resources for the things that do help us grow, like education and infrastructure and research.”¶ Laudable ideas all — but timidity and ambiguity in the past have not worked for Obama. The way to break down a wall of Republican opposition is to do what he did the past two weeks: stake out a clear position and stick to it. A plan for a tax-code overhaul? A Democratic solution to Medicare’s woes? As in the budget and debt fights, the policy is less important than the president’s ability to frame a simple message and repeat it with mind-numbing regularity.¶ If there’s going to be a big budget deal, the president eventually will have to compromise, perhaps even allowing some changes to his beloved Obamacare, which he didn’t mention while on his victory lap Thursday. Even then, forceful leadership may not be enough to prevail.¶ But he has a much better chance if he remains out in front. Otherwise, he’ll soon be knocked back on his behind.

It’s key to the economy and US leadership

Javier Palomarez, Forbes, 3/6/13, The Pent Up Entrepreneurship That Immigration Reform Would Unleash, www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/03/06/the-pent-up-entrepreneurship-that-immigration-reform-would-unleash/print/
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.


Auslin 9

(Michael, Resident Scholar – American Enterprise Institute, and Desmond Lachman – Resident Fellow – American Enterprise Institute, “The Global Economy Unravels”, Forbes, 3-6, http://www.aei.org/article/100187)

What do these trends mean in the short and medium term? The Great Depression showed how social and global chaos followed hard on economic collapse. The mere fact that parliaments across the globe, from America to Japan, are unable to make responsible, economically sound recovery plans suggests that they do not know what to do and are simply hoping for the least disruption. Equally worrisome is the adoption of more statist economic programs around the globe, and the concurrent decline of trust in free-market systems. The threat of instability is a pressing concern. China, until last year the world's fastest growing economy, just reported that 20 million migrant laborers lost their jobs. Even in the flush times of recent years, China faced upward of 70,000 labor uprisings a year. A sustained downturn poses grave and possibly immediate threats to Chinese internal stability. The regime in Beijing may be faced with a choice of repressing its own people or diverting their energies outward, leading to conflict with China's neighbors. Russia, an oil state completely dependent on energy sales, has had to put down riots in its Far East as well as in downtown Moscow. Vladimir Putin's rule has been predicated on squeezing civil liberties while providing economic largesse. If that devil's bargain falls apart, then wide-scale repression inside Russia, along with a continuing threatening posture toward Russia's neighbors, is likely. Even apparently stable societies face increasing risk and the threat of internal or possibly external conflict. As Japan's exports have plummeted by nearly 50%, one-third of the country's prefectures have passed emergency economic stabilization plans. Hundreds of thousands of temporary employees hired during the first part of this decade are being laid off. Spain's unemployment rate is expected to climb to nearly 20% by the end of 2010; Spanish unions are already protesting the lack of jobs, and the specter of violence, as occurred in the 1980s, is haunting the country. Meanwhile, in Greece, workers have already taken to the streets. Europe as a whole will face dangerously increasing tensions between native citizens and immigrants, largely from poorer Muslim nations, who have increased the labor pool in the past several decades. Spain has absorbed five million immigrants since 1999, while nearly 9% of Germany's residents have foreign citizenship, including almost 2 million Turks. The xenophobic labor strikes in the U.K. do not bode well for the rest of Europe. A prolonged global downturn, let alone a collapse, would dramatically raise tensions inside these countries. Couple that with possible protectionist legislation in the United States, unresolved ethnic and territorial disputes in all regions of the globe and a loss of confidence that world leaders actually know what they are doing. The result may be a series of small explosions that coalesce into a big bang.

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