A leading Senate Democrat, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York confidently predicted Sunday that the House will approve the Senate-passed immigration overhaul by the end of this year.
The Senate passed its immigration bill last Thursday by a vote of 68 to 32.
In an interview on “Fox News Sunday” Schumer said, “We'll pass the Senate bill by the end of this year even though most House members don't think so.”
In the end, House Speaker John Boehner will be forced to allow the bill to pass “with a majority of Democratic votes and some Chamber of Commerce-type Republicans.” Political pressure and the weight of public opinion, including mass protests, will force Boehner’s hand, Schumer argued.
“I could see a million people on the (National) Mall (in Washington) in August asking for the bill. And who's going to be on stage? Not the usual suspects but the bishops, evangelicals and business leaders,” the New York Democrat said.
He also vowed that strong supporters of the Senate immigration bill “are going to be at the town hall meetings of Republican congressmen.
They're going to be visiting them in their offices. They're going to be traipsing in the halls of Congress.”
And Schumer said GOP leaders will bow to demographic pressure.
“The national Republican leadership will tell John Boehner if you don't pass a bill, then we are going to be a minority party for a generation,” Schumer said. “And he's not only the House leader, he's a party leader.”
On CNN’s “State of the Union” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R- Va., said, “I think the speaker wants to solve this problem. He wants to do it methodically, where we examine each of these issues separately, and we're doing that. And then he wants to find something that can pass the House. He says, and I agree with him, it would be best if it had the majority of both parties voting for it, and then we have to conference with the Senate, because there are lots of defects in the Senate bill that we don't like.”
Goodlatte said, “Republicans are in the majority in the House. We want to work with Democrats… to do a bill, but not the Senate bill. And the compromise is going to have to come both in getting a bill out of the House and then in going to conference with the Senate to work out the differences.”
Two other hot-button social issues – abortion and same-sex-marriages -- were also debated on Sunday morning talk shows.
Wendy Davis, a Democratic state senator from Fort Worth, Texas who last week used a filibuster to block passage of a bill that would outlaw abortions in her state after 20 weeks of pregnancy and would require abortion clinics to have the same standards as surgery centers, said on NBC’s Meet the Press that the Texas ban “is being talked about because of the idea of fetal pain,” but that Supreme Court decisions have mandated that “women have the ability to make these decisions up to the point of viability. That has to remain the key question here.”
She said the Texas legislature’s attempt to restrict abortions was an intrusion on personal liberty. “Even if this bill passes, obviously there will be challenges to it,” Davis said.
One of the provisions in the bill, she said would leave Texas with only five abortion clinics and “dramatically decrease the number of doctors who are able to function in this (abortion) arena.”
Davis assailed the motives of her opponents, contending that people “have grown weary of our politicians trying to boost their own careers on the back of women by bullying them….”
Meanwhile in the wake of Wednesday’s Supreme Court decisions that the federal government could not limit its benefits to traditional man-woman married couples and that in effect required California to recognize same-sex marriages, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said on Meet the Press that she wants the right to marry a person of one’s own sex to be “the law of the land upheld as a constitutional right.”
That would mean that the 37 states that legally recognize only traditional man-woman marriages would be forced to comply with a national same-sex marriage rule.
Pelosi said that she and other proponents of legal recognition for same-sex marriages wouldn’t require that priests, ministers, or other clerics have to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. “We're talking about the state, what the state does and what the state recognizes. People have a right to believe what they believe. But we are a country that professes not to discriminate and this (state recognition of only traditional marriage) is a (form of) discrimination.”
But Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R- Kansas, who has offered a constitutional amendment to define marriage as only “the union of a man and a woman,” said on Meet the Press that the Supreme Court’s marriage decisions last week were “outrageous” and that the justices “have taken it upon themselves to rewrite the Constitution” and had decided to “short-circuit democratic process.”
Even though some Republican consultants had advised party leaders to give up their resistance to same-sex marriage, Huelskamp said, “For the American people it’s not over….What you’re hearing from these professional consultants -- who have lost election after election by the way -- these folks have always wanted us to go ‘lite’ and to abandon our positions on social issues…. There are more folks today who oppose abortion than support homosexual marriage.”
He said, “The real issue here is who gets to decide. Do five justices get to decide, or do the American people get to decide, or do some consultants in Washington, D.C. get to decide?”