Returning US lawmakers face immigration challenges

flagggThe Congress session of 2013 proved to be the least productive ever, according to statistics, with the Senate, which is controlled by the Democrats, and the House of Representatives, which is dominated by the Republican Party, unable to bridge the yawning chasm that exists between them on various issues.

Lawmakers are now going back to Capitol Hill for a new start in 2014 and there is certainly a great deal of unfinished business that they need to contend with, including raising the debt ceiling, passing a Farm bill and coping with the issue of immigration reform.  The House of Representatives will see no let-up in pressure from advocates of immigration reform who want to see them finally get to grips with the issue.

A number of analysts are speculating that House Speaker John Boehner might finally get the issue onto the floor of the House in May after the conclusion of the Republican primaries but before November’s congressional elections.  However, most are in agreement that Boehner faces political risks in trying to deal with immigration reform.  “It is not clear that he would go far enough to attract Democratic support, and if he goes very far, he would probably lose a lot of his conservative base,” notes Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institute.  “So nothing is guaranteed there.”

Mann says that the Republican Party’s conservative Tea Party wing is constraining Boehner but others attribute equal blame to Obama’s inability to form coalitions and the ideological zeal that drives many in the Republican Party.