Eric Cantor, the majority leader of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, lost his primary on Tuesday. Cantor lost to economics professor Dave Brat in what was a very unexpected upset. Cantor had straddled the fence on the issue of immigration reform, leading both sides of the debate to label him indecisive.
Cantor had made several statements that appealed to those both for and against immigration reform, but was still generally seen as someone who would ultimately allow a comprehensive reform bill to make it through the House of Representatives. Following his defeat a number of advocates were convinced that such reform was doomed, at least for 2014, but others are now putting pressure on President Obama to pass the bill into law using executive authority.
Obama has previously exercised caution on such an act, preferring to wait and give the House every chance to act on the immigration bill; however, more and more Democrats not only want him to use his authority but are also expecting him to do just that. “Immigration reform is not dead,” claimed Representative Luis Gutierrez, speaking on the House floor about Brat’s victory. “It might just be moving to the White House for action if none comes from this House.”
The last credible window for any such bill to be passed is the remaining weeks leading up to August. If no decision has been reached by the House at this point, the pressure on the president to take action will reach fever pitch.