Chamber president gives ultimatum to GOP
US Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue didn't mince any words at a meeting on infrastructure yesterday, telling the Republican party that if they didn't pass immigration reform this year, they may as well not field a candidate in 2016.
The GOP shouldn’t even field a presidential candidate in 2016 unless Congress passes immigration reform this year, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue said Monday.
“If the Republicans don’t do it, they shouldn’t bother to run a candidate in 2016,” Donohue joked at an event on infrastructure investment in D.C. “Think about that. Think about who the voters are. I just did that to get everybody’s attention.”
Republicans have focused on an immigration overhaul as a way to woo Hispanic voters, who have increasingly drifted to Democrats over the past two election cycles. Growing Hispanic populations in Nevada, Texas and elsewhere could make those states more amenable to Democrats in the future.
Donohue, whose group has spent months pushing House Republicans to support immigration legislation, was speaking about what he thought a dysfunctional Congress could still get done in 2014.
“You think Congress can get immigration reform done this year, in an election year?” moderator Eamon Javers asked Donohue.
“Yes, yes,” Donohue replied.
National Association of Manufacturers President Jay Timmons said he also thought immigration reform could pass this year, perhaps in a lame-duck session.
“This is a unified position of the business community,” Timmons said.
Reform backers have focused on the weeks before the August recess as a time when the House could move on immigration. A bipartisan bill that included a pathway to citizenship, increased border enforcement and increased levels of legal immigration passed the Senate last year.
The efforts have drawn fierce opposition from conservatives, whose objections include concern about proposals to offer a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Some also argue that parts of the bill would hurt employment for U.S. citizens.
What is Donohue talking about? Immigration reform is barely a blip in the polls. The most recent Pew survey of issues considered most important by Americans, immigration reform is 16th. And a recent Pew/USA Today poll showed immigration reform ranking dead last in importance.
Hispanic outreach? Does anyone really think the GOP is going to get any credit at all if immigration reform passes? Or change any Hispanic votes?
Immigration reform is an inside the beltway issue desired by the business community By legalizing millions of people, business will be able to keep wages low - it's that simple.
Donohue pulled out all the stops to make his point:
Beyond politics, he said stalling on immigration will have economic ramifications. He said immigrants are needed for all sorts of jobs, including health care. “If you don’t do it (pass immigration), you’re going to go to the nursing home and pick up your mother-in-law and bring her home,” he said.
What an asinine thing to say. It's nonsense, of course, In fact, he makes the opposition's point. If there are fewer workers at the nursing home, they will have to raise wages to attract more employees.
Exactly what Donohue and his Business Roundtable pals don't want.