• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Paul Ryan Pushing Immigration Reform Behind The Scenes

ryan

Congressman Paul Ryan has apparently taken it upon himself to fulfill a role in the House similar to the one that Marco Rubio fulfilled in the Senate:

Two weeks after his vice-presidential bid ended, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) ran into an old friend, Rep. Luis Guitierrez (D-Ill.), and prodded him to restart his effort at comprehensive immigration legislation. His argument came from a religious and economic foundation.

“You’re a Catholic, I’m a Catholic, we cannot have a permanent underclass of Americans exploited in America,” Ryan told Guitierrez, according to the Democrat’s recollection of the November 2012 discussion.

Since then, Ryan has walked a fine line in supporting immigration legislation that many Republican Party elder statesmen believe is essential to revive the GOP’s chances in national campaigns, at the risk of short-term burn in its conservative base. Yet Ryan has not become the public face of the House’s immigration consideration.

The 43-year-old congressman, whose future remains bright enough that some pine for a presidential bid of his own, has prodded a small group of House negotiators searching for a bipartisan compromise. On Wednesday afternoon, advisers expect Ryan to again play that role at a special immigration meeting of the House Republican Conference, likely reiterating his support for a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants already here.

Wednesday’s meeting will be behind closed doors, leaving Ryan’s imprint largely behind the scenes — just as it was eight months ago in that chance meeting with Guitierrez in the House gym. Ryan intends to support a bipartisan compromise but not become the lead advocate for any particular legislative idea, according to current and former advisers. He’s not part of the bipartisan House group on immigration, nor is he on the Judiciary Committee currently considering legislative proposals.

Dan Senor, who advised Ryan in 2012 and remains close to the lawmaker, said Ryan’s role will be different than that of another 40-something Republican, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), who became the highest-profile GOP supporter of the Senate’s legislation. Rubio helped craft the legislative language in bipartisan talks among eight senators, then aggressively sold the deal to skeptical conservative audiences in dozens and dozens of radio and TV appearances, sometimes several in a single day.

Senor, in a series of posts on his Twitter page Wednesday, said Ryan would make a “full throated” case for a comprehensive bill, not through a “million” media interviews, but by making the case directly to lawmakers.

(…)

Ryan’s standing among House conservatives remains as strong as ever.

“What he brings is experience and trust, he’s deeply trusted in our conference,” said Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.), a junior member of leadership and one of Ryan’s top acolytes on the Budget Committee.

Ryan’s own future is at a crossroads. His tenure on the Budget Committee ends next year, after receiving a one-time waiver to exceed the normal six-year limit as the top Republican on any committee. No one seems certain what he wants next. Some want a presidential bid, some view him as a logical successor to Boehner as speaker.

His fundraising schedule is now packed with events benefiting fellow House Republicans, not Lincoln Day dinners in key presidential primary battlegrounds to which other aspirants, such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), are flocking. That leaves many assuming he wants to stay in the House, with the gavel at the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee an increasingly likely prize.

Ryan brokered a pact earlier this year between the hard right portion of the caucus and leadership, setting up the ordering of agenda items and helping avert a potentially disastrous fight over the Treasury’s debt ceiling until later this year. It was a rare moment of getting his hands dirty in the deal-making process that Ryan has largely avoided.

Every move taken since has prompted scrutiny by GOP insiders trying to game out his future, and some view Ryan’s potential leadership on immigration as a game-changer that could sway some undecided Republicans to support a bill combining border security and citizenship.

As I noted earlier today that Marco Rubio has suffered in the polls among Republicans for being the public face of the Senate immigration bill. The fact that Ryan intends to work behind the scenes on the House side suggests that he hopes to avoid that same problem with the Republican base. However, depending on the content of the House bill, the fact that Ryan has a role behind the scenes has been well-known for some time, I have to wonder if that will actually work.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    “What he brings is experience and trust, he’s deeply trusted in our conference,” said Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.), a junior member of leadership and one of Ryan’s top acolytes on the Budget Committee.

    I cannot help but ask the question: Rubio is not trusted … why not, race? The fact that Rubio is of Cuban descent causes many conservative Republicans to distrust the immigration reform that Rubio has an important part in crafting?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  2. stonetools says:

    As I noted earlier today that Marco Rubio has suffered in the polls among Republicans for being the public face of the Senate immigration bill. The fact that Ryan intends to work behind the scenes on the House side suggests that he hopes to avoid that same problem with the Republican base. However, depending on the content of the House bill, the fact that Ryan has a role behind the scenes has been well-known for some time, I have to wonder if that will actually work.

    I predict not only that this won’t work, but that Congressman Ryan will shortly introduce a House bill restricting women’s access to abortion. That seems to be default” assuring the base” move in the Republican playbook.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  3. Moosebreath says:

    “we cannot have a permanent underclass of Americans exploited in America”

    Possibly the strangest thing Ryan has ever said, both because the concept of exploiting a permanent underclass is part and parcel of increasing the rewards to the creators in the Randian Utopianism that is at the root of Ryan’s political philosophy, and because the policies he advocates seek to create such a permanent underclass.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  4. Sam Malone says:

    Look…
    Ryan recently said he was focused on the plight of the poor…and then promptly voted to slash funding for all kinds of programs that help the poor.
    So if he is now pushing Immigration reform then I can only assume…based purely on Ryans own history…that he is doing everything he can to fu@& over immigrants.
    This guy is a spoiled little frat boy douche-bag…an heir to a fortune made on Government work…complaining about Government. A total a$$-hat. End of story.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  5. superdestroyer says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Rubio is not trust because he is an idiot. He was suppose to be the spokesman for comprehensive immigration reform and cannot repeat one sound byte of why it would be good for the middle class whites who make up the vast majority of Republican voters. In reality, comprehensive immigration reform will lower the quality of life of many current Republicans while putting money in the pockets of the cheap labor elites.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  6. Tillman says:

    Something tells me the Tea Party’s soon to turn on him as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  7. Speak Da Truf says:

    Ryan is the latest republican sell-out. If he keeps pushing this amnesty bill, he will lose all of the conservative vote. Just like McCain lost republican support in the presidential election, so will Ryan. If we pass this bill, you will never see a republican win ANY election again. We know what happened in 1986 when we granted 3 million illegals amnesty with the promise of security.

    We got the amnesty but we never got the security. Guess what…………we lost the last presidential election by 2 million votes and 90% of Hispanics vote democrat. The illegals will NEVER vote republican no matter what you give them. This is political suicide and we the educated voters know this.

    So what if the bill doesn’t grant them citizenship for 13 years, the democrats will demand they get benefits and citizenship now for the next election and will use the supreme court, DOJ and homeland security to push this. Then when the dems get the white house for FOUR more years, we will lose another one or two seats on the supreme court. With a 5-4 LEFT court – and 11 million more illegals on the dole and in the voting ranks – game over.

    The will elect their own Hispanic candidates pushing their own agenda and the dumbass African Americans and white liberals will go down in flames, along with the rest of us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  8. Caj says:

    Move over Marco! Mr ‘ takers’ Ryan is hot on your trail. This smart as a whip ( sarcasm intended) ex VP is putting himself forward to run in 2016. So, like Marco he’s pandering to a group who are not as dumb as they both think they are. They couldn’t care less about real immigration reform, it’s all about votes in 2016. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Tillman says:

    I don’t know, something tells me they’ll turn on him. Can’t quite put my finger on it…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. wr says:

    @Speak Da Truf: “we the educated voters know this. ”

    You might want to check your dictionary. “Education” is not generally considered synonymous with “watches Glenn Beck regularly.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. Speak Da Truf says:

    @wr:

    neither is watching msnbc – jackoff

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0