GOP Congressman: Party Can’t ‘Walk And Chew Gum’
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OH) isn’t exactly giving his own party a vote of confidence:
He said it was unrealistic to expect the House to be able to tackle what he called the “divisive and difficult issue” of immigration when it can barely handle the most basic task of keeping the government’s lights on.
“We’re not sure we can chew gum, let alone walk and chew gum, so let’s just chew gum for a while,” Cole said.
This approach is not going down well with some Republicans on the hill – including Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV), who
criticized the House Republican leadership for “punting” immigration reform until the 2014 election year.
“It’s extremely frustrating and very disappointing to hear reports that the House does not plan on voting on immigration reform legislation this year,” Heck wrote. “There are bills that have passed Committee that could be brought to the floor next week, but the House Republican leadership may punt the issue until 2014 for political reasons.”
While most House Republicans don’t need Latino support to win local elections, Heck must rely on minority constituents for his 2014 reelection. Desperately. He represents a district that is 16 percent Latino and 12 percent Asian-American, and local leaders of these communities have pushed him hard on immigration reform. At least 76 percent of his constituents believe that it’s important to fix the immigration system this year, and 61 percent of voters support the bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill. A July 2013 poll shows that 40 percent of his constituents, evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, would be less likely to support him if he votes against immigration reform.