In a sharply-worded editorial published Wednesday morning, the editors of the National Review (NR) have called on House Speaker John Boehner to promise the conservative movement and the American people he will not go to conference with the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” immigration bill.
The article points out how Gang of Eight member Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the House’s piecemeal immigration strategy is “OK by us,” because Schumer would use those House bills to get to a conference with the Senate bill. “Forgive us if we don’t believe that this is because Schumer has abandoned hope for his Gang of Eight bill and its instant amnesty paired with large-scale increases in low-skilled legal immigration,” the editors wrote.
“Nothing if not a shrewd political operator, Schumer knows that the best chance for the Gang of Eight bill is a House-Senate conference and that the only way to get there is incremental legislation in the House,” they stated.
The editors argue that many of the House GOP’s individual bills “make sense on the merits, and House Republicans understandably want to show that they favor their own set of reforms rather than oppose anything and everything.”
“But incremental bills are destructive if their ultimate purpose is to get to a conference committee that would bless a version of the Gang of Eight bill,” the editors argue. “House leadership aides pooh-pooh the possibility of a conference committee. Well, then, there is a simple way to allay our fears and those of other opponents of the Gang of Eight — for Speaker Boehner to make a blood-oath commitment to oppose any conference committee.”
The National Review argues it is not as tough on Boehner as some other conservatives. “There are limits to his power,” the editors wrote. “At times, as in the negotiations over the fiscal cliff, he has been able to choose from a menu only of bad choices. But the immigration fight is different.”
“It is relatively easy. All he has to do is say, ‘No,'” the editors explained. “As in, ‘No, we won’t pass anything like the Gang of Eight bill. No, we won’t have a conference with the Senate over it. If the Senate wants to pass our reforms, wonderful. Otherwise, we will see you after the midterm elections.'”
They argued that Boehner’s recent description of himself as an immigration “facilitator” is “needless to say, not confidence-inspiring.”
“The speaker has said in the past that he favors comprehensive reform, and there is enormous private pressure from the Republican establishment and donor class to pass a comprehensive bill by hook or crook to ‘put the issue behind us,'” they wrote.
Ultimately, the NR editors said that Boehner needs to step up to the plate and make the promise: No conference.
“It would be a travesty if the House leadership subverted the will of its conference to find a way to rescue the Gang of Eight bill. Speaker Boehner should crush Schumer’s hopes and give his word — no conference,” they wrote.
Breitbart News has reached out to Boehner’s office for comment and is awaiting response.