Negotiators from both parties in the House are struggling to complete work on a comprehensive agreement to reform immigration. The House’s own “gang” is made up of 4 members from each party. According to reports they have broad agreement on general reform provisions, except language that would prevent currently illegal immigrants from accessing ObamaCare health subsidies.
ID Rep. Paul Labrador, a House negotiator, has imposed a Thursday deadline for an agreement, promising to stop negotiating if the deadline is missed. Reportedly, 7 or the 8 negotiators agreed to prohibiting illegals from accessing taxpayer-funded health insurance subsides, but CA Rep. Xavier Beccera, a negotiator and member of House Leadership, rejected the deal. Without agreement from all 8 negotiators, it is unlikely the House will proceed with a single, comprehensive reform plans.
Rep. Beccera is stuck between his role as a negotiator and his position in leadership. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other leaders, as well as a considerable block of the Democrat caucus, are opposed to efforts to deny illegals health insurance subsidies.
Making them eligible, however, dramatically increases the costs of legalization and would likely scuttle any support from the majority of Republicans. As ObamaCare moves closer to taking effect, it is increasingly exerting a gravitational pull on large swathes of domestic policy. It looks set now to upend talk of a comprehensive deal in the House on immigration.
Without a comprehensive deal, the House will consider separate, individual pieces of legislation to reform immigration. So, ObamaCare may have a silver lining. It may lead, inadvertently, to more thoughtful and substantive deliberations on reforming immigration.