April 15 (Bloomberg) -- Movement on gun control and immigration in the U.S. Senate obscures an inevitable roadblock to either measure: a resistant Republican-run House.
Obstacles in the House of Representatives to expanding background checks for gun-buyers may be enough to scuttle an initiative that President Barack Obama has pressed in the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shootings. They also could sidetrack a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. that the president is seeking. While opinion polls show the public strongly supports both, opposition within the House may be insurmountable.
Because of the bipartisan nature of talks underway on immigration in both chambers, and the Republican Party’s need to re-engage with Hispanic voters who backed Obama in November, immigration revisions may stand a stronger chance than gun control. Yet, as Republican strategist Ron Bonjean, puts it: "The House is not going to be steamrolled by the Senate." And even in the Senate, a gun bill isn’t ensured of passage.
"You’re making a big assumption that there’s a bill that actually has bipartisan support at the end of the day," Senator Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican close to House Speaker John Boehner, said in an interview. "I don’t think you can conclude that in any way, shape or form."
House Republicans say the Senate’s vote on guns last week and the introduction this week of the broadest rewrite of immigration policy in almost 30 years won’t serve as the prod that senators and advocates say it will for the House to act.
The Senate voted April 11 to advance an expansion of background checks to debate this week, and a bipartisan group of eight senators plans to unveil immigration legislation tomorrow, Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said yesterday on ABC’s "This Week" program.
"I’m optimistic about it," said Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican in the group offering the immigration plan.
"This bill does three things that are fundamentally important for our country," Rubio said yesterday on CBS’s "Face the Nation." "It modernizes our legal immigration system – something we need to do no matter what. It puts in place the toughest enforcement measures in the history of the United States, potentially in the world. And it once and for all deals with the issue of those that are here illegally, but does so in a way that is fair and compassionate."