Politics

Boehner Did … What?

Today’s Buried Lede-Boehnernoia: This exchange, from Sunday’s Meet the Press, has drawn a lot of attention [it even got Drudged]:

MR. TODD: …. Let me tell you something else, David. White House, now I have– they had been so confident that they were going to sign immigration reform this year. For the first time I– I am hearing that there is some doubt seeping in, that they think that maybe the House won’t act. What they need is they need an– they need something to sort of force Boehner to like at the last minute bring it to the floor the same way that the fiscal cliff deal happened. The problem is there’s no trigger at the end of this year. There isn’t the end of this Congress. There isn’t this. So I don’t know how this happens by the end of this year and suddenly now the White House doesn’t see a path to how this happens..

GREGORY: Right. Fire is all around them, no real second-term agenda when they have to deal with all these problems.

MS. MITCHELL: And immigration was going to be the one thing that they could have pointed to. And I think that conversation with John Boehner and the president, the president doesn’t have a whole well of trust in Boehner saying, you know, hang with me, I can get this done by the end of the summer. Boehner still doesn’t have the support and you heard what– what Congressman Labrador has been saying, they don’t have a Marco Rubio on the House side who can try to work around the edges… [Emphasis added]

MR. TODD: It was supposed to be Paul Ryan.

MS. MITCHELL: …and bring it together.

MR. TODD: It was supposed to be Paul Ryan…

MS. MITCHELL: And he’s gone silent I think. …

Wait a minute–John Boehner said what to the President? Remember that Boehner is probably the key to whether or not the bill passes. If he wants to engineer a House floor vote, in defiance of his caucus, it might. Otherwise, not so likely. So a great deal of temperature-taking and tea-leaf reading has gone into figuring out which side Boehner is really on. Andrea Mitchell seems to be saying: He’s telling the President he’s trying to get a bill passed. Just give him time. And given an opening, he’ll make it happen.

Surely this bit of inside info is more significant than expressions of pessimism from Chuck Todd’s White House sources, who might be trying to a) lull the opposition to sleep b) scare up support for the bill from business backers, etc. and c) put pressure, including MSM pressure, on Boehner to deliver (especially if Mitchell’s reporting** is right).

Rather than being taken as a sign the bill’s in trouble, then, Sunday’s MTP should be a cautionary note for those who might be inclined to prematurely declare immigration “reform” dead (because, for example, the Obama administration’s selective implementation of Obamacare has convinced Republicans he can’t be trusted to implement the border enforcement parts of the bill his coaliton dislikes).

If Boehner is, in his own mind, trying to pass the bill, can it ever be pronounced dead? …

P.S.: I say this as someone who thinks the bill would be a disaster. …

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**– Mitchell is nothing if not well-connected …