Obamacare crisis is choking Obama’s top priority immigration bill

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Obamacare is President Barack Obama’s Frankenstein monster.

The president and his congressional allies assembled the Affordable Care Act in a frenzied high-voltage rush in 2010, but since then, Obamacare has killed his Democratic House majority, and it is now choking the top priority for his second-term — a bill that would triple the inflow of Democratic-leaning immigrants.

“It would be nice if we could get something done this year… but I think all the fuss about Obamacare, all the problems that have occurred, have made it less likely to do something now,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, the chief author of the Senate’s immigration-boosting “Gang of Eight” bill.

GOP leaders “may not want to go off that message,” he said an Nov 14 D.C. event organized by The Atlantic Magazine.

“I mean, right now everybody is properly focused on us not doing a good job on the [Obamacare] rollout, and that’s legitimate and I get it,” Obama said in his Nov. 14 press conference.

“This whole fight we had in the … past few weeks over Obamacare and the government shutdown and everything really affected relationships with members and the White House,” Republican Rep. David Valadao told Politico for a Nov. 10 article.

“That, I think, had a huge impact on members who were on the fence on immigration,” said Valadao, who is one of just three Republicans who has backed a Democratic-draft version of the Senate’s immigration-boosting bill.

Valadao’s press aide did not respond to emails from The Daily Caller.

The Obamacare collapse has put Obama on the defensive, and forced him to spend his precious time touting his sinking program, downplaying millions of cancelled insurance policies, and finally learning about the health-sector and software-development programs.

The crisis means that he and the established media can’t focus on pushing the immigration bill during the few week before Christmas and the scheduled arrival of the next budget crisis in mid-January.

That’s a critical loss for the tight alliance of progressives and major business groups who have spent more than $1.5 billion since 2007 trying to get a bill past the voters.

The Senate immigration bill would triple current immigration rates of 1 million per year, and provide green-cards to roughly 30 million people over the next 10 years. The bill would also roughly double the resident-population of university-trained guest-workers. That enormous influx would add one extra immigrant or guest-worker for every American who turns 18 during the next 10 years.

Numerous independent polls show the immigration increase is very unpopular, especially among the lower-income voters needed by the GOP. That opposition is effectively rallied by Tea Party groups and low-immigration groups, such as NumbersUSA.

GOP leaders can count voters’ ballots just as well as they can count business donations, and so they’re now blocking the business-backed Senate bill by not holding floor votes on immigration.

Top GOP leaders are using the Obamacare meltdown to justify their no-vote policy to business donors.

“I direct the gentleman’s attention, madam speaker, to what’s going on with Obamacare right now and how many millions of Americans are extremely disappointed in their government and certainly in the representations that were made by the White House and the President,” House Majority leader Eric Cantor told the second-ranking Democratic in the House Nov. 15.

“We want to be working together [on immigration bills], want to be deliberative about this process and hopefully we can move forward in a way that is expeditious and thoughtful,” Cantor told Rep Steny Hoyer during a formal conversation on the House floor.

Other GOP legislators have been more dismissive.

“The Obama administration has changed, waived or delayed key provisions [of Obamacare] with a single stroke of a pen,” said a Sept. 20 statement by Rep. John Carter and Rep. Sam Johnson, who were critical members of the bipartisan “Gang of Seven” effort to push an immigration bill through the House.

“It would be gravely irresponsible to further empower this administration by granting them additional authority or discretion with a new immigration system… the American people do not trust the President to enforce laws, and we don’t either,” the two legislators said.

The blame-Obama-and-Obamacare policy allows other GOP politicians to keep promising donors that they’ll eventually get a amnesty for at least 11 million illegals, without also triggering mass protests from alarmed GOP voters.

“Having a legal status for them, where they can live here and work here and own a business here and pay their taxes here and travel to and from their home country, wherever else, would be a much better situation for our economy, for our country, than the current status of people not being accounted for,” Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the House Judiciary Committee chairman said in an Nov. 15 interview with Bloomberg.

Goodlatte is trying to pass a business-backed that would help companies hire blue-collar guest-workers in place of local Americans.

Obama tried to push the bill Nov 14, at a press conference where he presented himself as apologetic about Obamacare’s very-unpopular cancellation of at least 4 million people’s insurance policies.

But he acknowledged that the crash has put House Democrats on the defensive, leaving them few opportunities to advance the immigration bill.

“There is no doubt that our failure to roll out the ACA smoothly has put a burden on Democrats, whether they’re running or not, because they stood up and supported this effort through thick and thin,” he said.

But he recognized that Obamacare makes it easier for the GOP to avoid his pro-immigration campaign.

“We’ve got the business community entirely behind immigration reform… [but] if people are looking for an excuse not to do the right thing on immigration reform, they can always find an excuse —  we’ve run out of time, or this is hard, or the list goes on and on,” he said.

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