Washington often loses sight of the common good. Instead of considering how to best serve the public, many of our elected leaders focus on advancing the agenda of their political party or their own careers. The general welfare is sacrificed for the sake of individual gain. Immigration reform is a textbook example.
Despite poll after poll showing clear and overwhelming support for reform among across a wide spectrum of Americans — Democrats, Republicans, Evangelicals, tea-party voters, etc. — legislation remains stalled in the House of Representatives.
But the moment of truth has arrived.
Both prominent Republicans and Democrats agree that legislation must move through the House before the beginning of August or it becomes dead because of the hard realities created by legislative calendars and election-year political dynamics. The looming 2016 presidential contest — and the primary season that begins the day after the 2014 midterms — means that if this Congress fails to pass immigration reform it may not happen for years. This would represent not just a political disappointment but a moral failure.
According to House Speaker John Boehner the major obstacle within the Republican caucus is a lack of trust in President Obama. While I would challenge the validity of this reasoning, the president has now called the speaker's bluff by delaying a promised review of deportation policies until summer's end. This decision is a significant concession to House leadership in the hopes that a long-term, sustainable solution remains achievable and that the House is serious in its intentions to pursue immigration reform. This gesture of good faith demonstrates the president's sincerity. It places the proverbial ball squarely in Boehner's court.