The Note: House Hunters - In Search Of Support For Immigration Reform

Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • MEETING OF THE MEMBERS: A comprehensive immigration overhaul might have sailed through the Senate with a comfortable 68-32 vote before the Independence Day recess, but the post-holiday focus is now on the House, which seems reluctant to offer, much less pass, a wide-ranging bill of its own, ABC's JIM AVILA and SERENA MARSHALL report. House Speaker John Boehner meets today with his Republican Party members to decide the fate of the largest overhaul to immigration in more than 25 years. Republican members of the bipartisan House "Group of 7? - Texas Reps. John Carter and Sam Johnson, and Mario Diaz Balart of Florida - are expected to be in attendance and could perhaps help sway House Republicans to back their own bipartisan bill that has yet to be shared publicly. The bill would reflect Republican desires for even tougher language on points like border security than seen in the Senate bill, sources close to the negotiations say.
  • DEMOCRATS DIG IN: Meanwhile, House Democrats made it clear yesterday that they won't support any major immigration overhaul that does not include a pathway to citizenship, FUSION's JORDAN FABIAN notes. Party members in the lower chamber huddled with the four Democrats on the so-called "Gang of Eight" that helped write the Senate's bill. After the meeting, House Democrats said that the path to citizenship is the one thing they won't sacrifice for votes on an immigration package. "You must include a pathway to citizenship," Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), the chairman of the House Democratic caucus, told reporters after the meeting. "Democrats will make that very clear to Republicans."
  • WHITE HOUSE TOUTS BENEFITS OF REFORM IN NEW REPORT: President Obama continues his push for immigration reform today with a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, where he will discuss his administration's effort to urge the House to take action, ABC's MARY BRUCE reports. Also from the White House: "Today, the President's National Economic Council, Domestic Policy Council, Office of Management and Budget, and the Council of Economic Advisers released a report, The Economic Benefits of Fixing Our Broken Immigration System , detailing the range of benefits to the U.S. economy that would be realized from passage of commonsense immigration reform, and the high costs of inaction."


ABC's RICK KLEIN: What happened to the immigration momentum? As unfathomable as it seems that a bill supported by two-thirds of senators never comes up for a vote in the House, that's now clearly the path we're on. Which means immigration reform will not happen without backers finding new pressure points. (Keep in mind that the existing ones - including those warning of the impending demise of the Republican Party without action - are not operative in the GOP-controlled House.) It looks like time for some deal-makers - hello, Paul Ryan - and some deal-urgers. If House Republicans are going to support anything approximating a pathway to citizenship, they're going to need to hear nonstop about the bill's merits from voices they trust and value. If it's true that the business and evangelical communities really want immigration reform, they're going to have to show it, big time.

ABC's JEFF ZELENY: A stark reality check on immigration begins today, with House Republicans deciding how to proceed. The Senate bill is dead on arrival, of course, but that doesn't mean the issue will fade away. There is widespread agreement among GOP leaders that the current law is broken, but there is also a consensus that there is no rush needed to fix it. In fact, a delay could actually help the passage of some type of immigration bill. If the debate is pushed into next year - beyond the filing deadlines for candidates to mount primary challenges - it could help ease the worry among some members of Congress. The question now: Will conservative backers of immigration reform, a coalition including business leaders, religious organizations and some farm groups, offer any pressure or sit back and wait?


UNFINISHED BUSINESS: ANITA HILL IN HER OWN WORDS 20 YEARS AFTER THE CLARENCE THOMAS HEARINGS. It's been more than 20 years since Anita Hill was subpoenaed to testify about alleged sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas, who was undergoing Senate confirmation for the Supreme Court at the time. Hill's testimony sparked a national conversation on the issue of workplace sexual harassment, but many questions were left unanswered at the hearing's end. In a new documentary, "Anita," Hill tells her story for the first time on film since the hearing. And the film's director, Freida Mock, tells ABC's JEFF ZELENY that the film tries to bring resolution to the hearing's many unanswered questions. Mock says one of the issues the film addresses is the backroom agreement struck between then-chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Vice President Joe Biden, and Republicans on the committee, not to call three other witnesses who were standing by and ready to testify on Hill's behalf. "Why were not the three witnesses who were subpoenaed - and were sitting on that weekend to testify -why were these three women not called to testify who could have corroborated the testimony of Ms. Hill?" Mock asks.


RIVALS NO MORE, OBAMA VETERANS TO LEAD CLINTON GROUP. Ready for Hillary, the group encouraging Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016, is hiring a new team of old rivals: a pair of President Obama's top strategists who helped defeat her and put him in the White House. The daily operations of a campaign-in-waiting for Clinton, ABC's JEFF ZELENY reports, will be overseen by Jeremy Bird, the national field director for the Obama campaign who was pivotal in building an army of grassroots supporters. Joining him is Mitch Stewart, who was one of Obama's earliest campaign aides and led his effort in battleground states during the 2012 re-election campaign. It is the latest sign that Ready for Hillary, the super PAC seeking to pave the way for a possible candidacy, is serious. "It's her decision to make," Bird told ABC News. "This is about putting the infrastructure in place on the grassroots side, should she decide to run." The new partnership is scheduled to be announced Wednesday morning. Bird and the team at his new firm, 270 Strategies, will seek to use their on-the-ground organizing methods from the last two Obama campaigns to help bring together Clinton supporters from across the country. "We know from years of leading the Obama organization that empowering people and engaging grassroots volunteers are the most critical components of building a winning, 21st century campaign," Bird said. "That's why we're pleased to be working with the Ready for Hillary team to help tap into the organic grassroots energy we're seeing around the country from voters of all ages who are already inspired by the notion of a potential Clinton candidacy."

CELEBRATING GREEN CARDS FOR SAME-SEX COUPLES, IMMIGRANT YOUTH URGE ACTION. A crowd of young immigrant students wearing shirts that read "I Am Undocumented" quickly rose from the pews of the church and started snapping pictures as the back doors opened to reveal two women walking down the aisle, about to be wed, ABC's GARRETT BRUNO writes. The 300 mostly undocumented students, united in their membership in the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, were supporting the symbolic marriage of Lindsay Schubiner and Prerna Lal. Lal is a native of Fiji who could now, after 14 years of waiting, apply for a green card as the spouse of a citizen. The students themselves, hailing from states all across the country, had arrived in the Capitol for the annual "National DREAM Graduation and Wedding" ceremony, which took place Tuesday at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation just one block from the Capitol. The event combined two ceremonies: a mock-graduation of undocumented youth meant to highlight the need for education provisions in immigration reform and the symbolic wedding between the bi-national lesbian couple. Lal can now apply for a green card after the Supreme Court struck down provisions in the Defense of Marriage Act prohibiting the issuance of green cards to legally married same-sex couples.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS TAKES AIM AT INDIVIDUAL MANDATE. Republican leaders in the House of Representatives, poised to take yet another swing at dismantling Obamacare, yesterday strongly hinted that they intend to vote by the end of the month to delay implementation of the individual mandate provision in the Affordable Care Act by one year, ABC's JOHN PARKINSON reports. Pointing at the Obama administration's decision last week to postpone implementation of the mandate for businesses, House Speaker John Boehner questioned why President Obama would side with big business but move ahead with the mandate for individuals and families. "I'm glad the president recognized that his health care law is not good for our economy," Boehner, R-Ohio, said during a news conference at the Capitol on Tuesday. "But just delaying the employer mandate frankly isn't good enough." "If businesses can get relief from Obamacare, the rest of America ought to be able to get relief as well," he added.

DOCTORS WEIGH IN ON TERESA HEINZ KERRY'S 'SEIZURE-LIKE' SYMPTOMS. Doctors treating Teresa Heinz Kerry have ruled out several possible causes that led to her hospitalization over the weekend, including heart attack, stroke or a brain tumor, a family spokesman said yesterday, ABC's ABBY PHILLIP and DANA HUGHES report. Heinz Kerry was hospitalized with seizure-like symptoms on Sunday while vacationing in her Nantucket home with Secretary of State John Kerry. She remains in "fair" condition at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, after being transferred there from a Nantucket hospital late Sunday. With his wife now stable and "improving," Kerry returned to Washington to participate in the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, spokesman Glen Johnson said. Kerry is scheduled to meet with President Obama this afternoon.

IT'S CORY BOOKER'S RACE TO LOSE IN NEW JERSEY. Newark Mayor Cory Booker may not have the backing of the Lautenberg family, but he seems to have the support of the majority of New Jersey voters anyway topping the 50 percent mark in both the primary and general election in a poll out Tuesday, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE notes. In the Quinnipiac University poll, Booker comes in with 52 percent in the Democratic primary match up against Rep. Frank Pallone who comes in with 10 percent, 8 percent for Rep. Rush Holt, and 3 percent for Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. Another 26 percent of voters are undecided. The special Senate election is to replace the U.S. senate seat left when Frank Lautenberg died last month.


" LIVE FROM THE OVAL OFFICE: A BACKDROP OF HISTORY FADES FROM TV," by The New York Times' Jackie Calmes. "At historic moments in the television age, past American presidents turned to the Oval Office as their stage. Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy interrupted prime-time shows to tell Americans from the Oval Office why they had ordered troops to desegregate schools. Bill Clinton broke into programming from behind the presidential desk three times in a month to explain military actions in Haiti and Iraq. Ronald Reagan, the telegenic former actor, set the record for evening addresses from the Oval Office desk: 29 over two terms. Even the untelegenic Richard M. Nixon spoke 22 times from the Oval Office in just five years, the last time to resign in disgrace. The current president? It was three years ago this summer that Mr. Obama gave his only two prime-time addresses from the Oval Office - the first on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the second on ending combat operations in Iraq. That ties the number for George W. Bush at a similar point in his presidency. After Mr. Bush's first Oval Office address, on Sept. 11, 2001, he gave just five more in eight years. The statistics come from the American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara."


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