Wednesday, February 27, 2013

House to vote on Violence Against Women Act measures

Republican leaders are prepared to allow a vote on a version favored by Democrats, pointing to GOP division.

Senate confirms Lew as Treasury secretary

Senate confirms Lew as Treasury secretary Jack Lew gets Senate green light in a 71-26 vote just as economy faces potentially severe budget cuts.

Sequester spin gets ahead of reality

Sequester spin gets ahead of reality How bad will the cuts really be? No one really knows. The dire warnings the reflect a lot of guesswork.

4 Pinocchios for Arne Duncan’s false claim of ‘pink slips’ for teachers

Education Secretary asserted three times that some teachers have already gotten ‘pink slips.’

Boehner cuts House members’ greatest perk

Boehner cuts House members’ greatest perk
Citing the impending sequester cuts to the federal budget, the Speaker canceled all House congressional delegation travel on military jets.

Christie: CPAC snub no big deal

Christie: CPAC snub no big deal The New Jersey governor says he has bigger things to worry about than not getting invited to the conservative confab.

Premature congratulations for McCarthy

Premature congratulations for McCarthy A think tank releases a statement on her nomination to head EPA... but the White House hasn’t yet given her the official nod.

Boehner cuts House members’ greatest perk

Boehner cuts House members’ greatest perk Citing the impending sequester cuts to the federal budget, the Speaker canceled all House congressional delegation travel on military jets.

Duncan says teachers getting pink slips but local officials say not so

Duncan says teachers getting pink slips but local officials say not so West Virginia teacher moves are not a result of sequestration, local officials explain.

Cut the pork but hold the sequestration, protesters say

Cut the pork but hold the sequestration, protesters say Protesters with a giant pink pig want defense cuts without sequestration

Supreme Court conservatives express skepticism over voting law provision

By , Wednesday, February 27, 1:10 PM

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images - Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), left, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) attend a rally on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 27

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority strongly suggested Wednesday that a key portion of the landmark legislation protecting minority voting rights is no longer justified and that the time had come for Southern states to be freed from special federal oversight.

At stake was Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which even challengers credit with delivering the promise of political inclusion to minority voters and eventually leading to the election of the nation’s first African American president.

With the voting rights case and an upcoming decision about whether universities may consider race in their admission policies, the court is poised this term to render a powerful verdict on the progress the United States has made in remedying its history of discrimination and the role government may play in what is left to do.

Next month, in another pair of major civil rights cases, the justices will consider the right of same-sex couples to marry and the government’s recognition of those unions.

The sharp ideological differences that mark the court have rarely been on display more than in Wednesday’s dramatic and at times tense oral argument, which played out before a courtroom filled with political leaders such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and civil rights activists such as Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson.

The justices’ questioning of the lawyers was so intense that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. allowed the session to run into overtime.

Section 5 of the law requires nine states, mostly in the South, and jurisdictions in other states to “pre-clear” any changes in voting laws with federal authorities.

Justice Antonin Scalia said Congress’s decision in 2006 to reauthorize the law was not the result of a studied decision but of a “phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement.” Politicians, he said, are afraid to vote against something with the “wonderful” name of the Voting Rights Act.

The liberals on the court defended the reauthorization, saying Congress amassed overwhelming evidence of a continued need for Section 5, which covers Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia, as well as Alaska and Arizona, plus parts of seven other states.

“I don’t know what they’re thinking exactly,” Justice Stephen G. Breyer said of the nearly unanimous majorities in Congress that reauthorized Section 5. “But it seems to me one might reasonably think this: It’s an old disease, it’s gotten a lot better, a lot better, but it’s still there.”

The court in 2009 considered whether extending Section 5 was constitutional. The justices decided that case without a definitive answer but sent an unmistakable message to Congress that the court was dissatisfied with the formula used to determine which states were covered by Section 5.

In the 2009 case, Roberts wrote that such an imposition on state sovereignty must be justified by current needs. “The statute’s coverage formula is based on data that is now more than 35 years old and there is considerable evidence that it fails to account for current political conditions,” he wrote for seven other justices. Justice Clarence Thomas said he would have found the reauthorization unconstitutional.

Congress took no action after that decision, and there were signs Wednesday that conservatives on the court had lost patience. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who often casts the deciding vote when the court is ideologically split and is a strong supporter of federalism, said the current situation leaves Alabama under “the trusteeship of the United States government.”

He also criticized the use of the formula, which originally was based on measures such as literacy tests and voter registration percentages, to determine which states Section 5 covers.

“If Congress is going to single out separate states by name, it should do it by name,” Kennedy said. “Congress just didn’t have the time or the energy to do this; it just reenacted” the existing formula.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. called the Voting Rights Act “one of the most successful statutes that Congress passed in the 20th century ” but nevertheless said the selection of jurisdictions covered by Section 5 makes no sense today.

Comparing jurisdictions that are covered with those that are not, he questioned whether discrimination is “a bigger problem in Virginia than in Tennessee, or it’s a bigger problem in Arizona than Nevada, or in the Bronx as opposed to Brooklyn.”

Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., who along with Debo P. Adegbile of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund was defending the law’s reauthorization, was bluntly asked by Roberts: “Is it the government’s submission that the citizens in the South are more racist than citizens in the North?

Verrilli said the government was not making that claim but instead was arguing that Congress had found that Section 5 was still needed in those jurisdictions and, in doing so, was relying on a formula that the court had found constitutional in four previous examinations.

The law was being challenged by Shelby County, Ala., a growing suburb south of Birmingham. The county was represented by Bert W. Rein, a Washington lawyer who said today’s Alabama bears “no resemblance” to the state that earned its spot on the 1965 list.

But the liberal justices were armed with statistics. “You’re objecting to a formula, but under any formula that Congress could devise, it would capture Alabama,” said Justice Elena Kagan, citing findings that a greater proportional number of violations of the act occur in the South.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said it was a recent violation by a town in Shelby County that led to the current case. “Why would we vote in favor of a county whose record is the epitome of what caused the passage of this law to start with?” she asked.

Although the discrimination of 1965 may no longer be present, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “the discrimination continues in other forms.”

The question of deference to Congress provoked the most dramatic moments. When Scalia said that the 98-0 Senate vote for reauthorization was evidence that lawmakers had not seriously considered the issue, Kagan took the unusual step of addressing him directly.

“Well, that sounds like a good argument to me, Justice Scalia,” she said. “It was clear to 98 senators, including every senator from a covered state, who decided that there was a continuing need for this piece of legislation.”

Addressing Verrilli, Scalia repeated his concern that extending the voting rights law is “not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress.”

Verrilli disagreed, saying, “We are talking about the enforcement power that the Constitution gives to the Congress to make these judgments to ensure protection of fundamental rights.”

Kennedy suggested several times that another part of the law, which applies to the entire nation, is enough to prevent discrimination.

The symbolic significance of Section 5 could make the court reluctant to strike it down entirely. Instead, the justices could keep the section but declare that the formula used in selecting the covered states is outdated and must be revisited. Proponents of the law say that would effectively doom Section 5, because it would be so hard to get a new formula through a partisan and polarized Congress.

The case is Shelby County v. Holder .

Lowering Discretionary Spending

President Obama has led the way on forcing government to live within its means through a balanced approach that protects key priorities and ensures that everyone pays their fair share. In August, President Obama signed into law a bipartisan agreement that kept our nation from defaulting and achieved significant deficit reduction, including a down payment on reform of about $1 trillion, by reducing discretionary spending to its lowest level as a share of the economy since Dwight D. Eisenhower was President while protecting critical investments critical to our long-term competitiveness. And under this agreement, Congress must pass another $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, or trigger massive cuts to domestic and defense spending, providing an incentive for both sides to come together. The agreement is consistent with the President’s values of achieving meaningful deficit reduction in a common-sense balanced manner, in which low-income and middle-class families do not bear the entire burden, in which the most fortunate Americans pay their fair share, and in which cuts are spread across both the security and non-security sides of government.

The Budget Control Act locks in historic spending discipline, balanced between domestic and Pentagon discretionary spending. Highlights include:
Brings domestic discretionary spending to its lowest level since Eisenhower: As part of the down payment on deficit reduction the President signed this August, domestic discretionary spending will be brought to its lowest level as a share of the economy since Dwight D. Eisenhower was President. At the same time, the President has insisted that these cuts include both domestic and defense spending, and has made clear that they cannot threaten our long-term competitiveness or our commitments to the most vulnerable – for example, by ensuring that historic expansions of Pell Grants are maintained.
Saves more than $900 billion over 10 years by imposing long-term spending restraint:  The Budget Control Act mandates historic levels of spending cuts—nearly $1 trillion—done in a way that will not harm the economic recovery. The cuts are balanced between domestic and Pentagon spending, and protect critical initiatives like aid for college students;
Protects core investments from deep and economically damaging cuts: President Obama is adamant that in order to fundamentally rebuild our economy, we have to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world, tapping the creativity and imagination of our people. We have to take responsibility for our deficit, but we need to continue investing in what makes America stronger and cutting what doesn’t. The Budget Control Act allows us to continue investing in innovation, infrastructure and education.
Saves $350 billion from the base defense budget: For the first time since the 1990s, defense spending will decline. The Budget Control Act puts us on track to cut $350 billion from the defense budget over 10 years. These reductions will be implemented based on the outcome of a review of our missions, roles, and capabilities that will reflect the President’s commitment to protecting our national security.
Protects the President’s historic investment in Pell Grants: Since taking office, the President has increased the maximum Pell award by $819 to a maximum award $5,550 per year, helping over 9 million students pay for college tuition bills. The deal provides specific protection in the discretionary budget to ensure that the there will be sufficient funding for the President’s commitment to making college more affordable for all Americans.
Protects low-income and middle-class families from shouldering the sole burden of deficit reduction: The President stood firmly against proposals that would have placed the sole burden of deficit reduction on lower-income and middle-class families. This includes not only proposals in the House Republican Budget that would have undermined the core commitments of Medicare to our seniors and forced tens of millions of low-income Americans to go without health insurance, but also enforcement mechanisms that would have forced automatic cuts to low-income programs. The enforcement mechanism in the deal exempts Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare benefits, unemployment insurance, programs for low-income families, and civilian and military retirement.
And, the President has proposed to go beyond this down payment and is proposing important reforms to mandatory programs saving hundreds of billions of dollars. He has called on the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction to enact these reforms. Highlights include:
Strengthens Medicare and Medicaid: President Obama is recommending a series of reforms that build on the historic savings in the Affordable Care Act. Overall, these proposals will save $248 billion in Medicare over 10 years and $73 billion in Medicaid and other health programs—and more than a trillion dollars in deficit reduction in the second decade. They accomplish this in a way that does not shift significant risks onto the individuals these programs serve, slash benefits, or undermine the fundamental compact they represent to our Nation’s seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income families. Even though these reforms can and will save money, they also will strengthen these vital programs and ensure that they are robust and healthy to serve Americans for years to come.
Reforms to other mandatory programs throughout the budget:  The President is proposing $257 billion in cuts and reforms to a wide range of mandatory programs from Federal retirement to agricultural subsidies, reform of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, new program integrity initiatives, and getting rid of unneeded Federal real estate property to reduce the deficit.

Democrats nominate Robin Kelly in Illinois special election

Former state representative Robin Kelly. (M. Spencer Green/AP)
Former state representative Robin Kelly. (M. Spencer Green/AP)
In a victory for gun-control advocates led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former state representative Robin Kelly won the Democratic nomination in Illinois’ 2nd District special election Tuesday, defeating former congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, whose positions on guns had come under consistent attack from opponents.

The Associated Press called the race for Kelly, who led Halvorson 56 percent to 20 percent, with six in ten precincts reporting. Fourteen other Democrats competed for the nomination.
Kelly’s victory makes her the overwhelming favorite to win the special general election that will be held in the spring. The 2nd District, which includes Chicago’s South Side and extends southward into the suburbs, leans heavily Democratic.

“With her success tonight, Robin Kelly took one more step toward joining
the ranks of a freshman class of Members defined by unprecedented diversity
and unmatched determination to get the job done on behalf of the American
people,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming her to Congress and to the Democratic Caucus.”

The election was triggered by the resignation of Jesse Jackson Jr., who last week admitted in court to misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of campaign funds. The special general election for Jackson’s old seat will be held on April 9.

A super PAC formed by Bloomberg, one of the nation’s leading gun control advocates, spent about $2.5 million to defeat Halvorson and boost Kelly, a hefty sum for a House race. Halvorson, who served one term in Congress from 2009-2011, previously received an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, which Bloomberg’s PAC noted in its ad campaign against her.

“This is an important victory for common sense leadership on gun violence, a problem that plagues the whole nation,” Bloomberg said in a statement Tuesday night. “And it’s the latest sign that voters across the country are demanding change from their representatives in Washington — not business as usual. As Congress considers the president’s gun package, voters in Illinois have sent a clear message: we need common sense gun legislation now. Now it’s up to Washington to act.”

Part of the district Halvorson previously represented lies in the 2nd District, a result of the decennial redistricting process. Being a well-known white candidate in a field with many African American contenders, Halvorson looked like a front-runner at the outset of the campaign.

The many black candidates, including Kelly, would stand to split up much of black vote, the thinking went, leaving Halvorson well-positioned to win with plurality support. But Kelly’s momentum, spurred by the outside spending for her and against Halvorson, prevented the former congresswoman from making a return trip to Capitol Hill.

The campaign unfolded against the backdrop of a city plagued by gun violence. Chicago hit the 500-homicide mark last year for the first time since 2008. Kelly consistently underscored her support for stricter gun control measures in the race.

Halvorson said in the campaign that she opposes a federal ban on assault-style weapons, but favors requiring universal background checks for gun purchases. Kelly, by comparison, said she supported both provisions.

A winter storm dumped snow and slush on the Chicago area Tuesday, apparently depressing turnout for an election that wasn’t expected to attract many voters in the first place. Early estimates projected turnout to be less than 20 percent.

The race for the GOP nomination remained competitive late Tuesday, with a trio of candidates within five points of each other with nearly eight in ten precincts reporting.

Gun debate is changing the Democratic Party

It's unclear if the tragic shooting at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School -- as well as the subsequent ones across the country -- will lead to passage of gun-control legislation in Congress. But they might have had this immediate result: transforming the politics and focus inside the Democratic Party, at least in solid-blue districts and states.

Look no farther than Tuesday's upcoming Democratic special congressional primary in Illinois to fill Jesse Jackson Jr.'s vacant seat in the Chicago area, where Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly has become the front-runner, thanks in large part to the issue of guns.[Kelly won Tuesday night 56% to 20%  she whooped  Havorson]

"Robin Kelly has spent her career fighting to get deadly weapons off our streets," goes one of her TV ads. "In Congress, Kelly will keep taking on the NRA, fighting to ban assault weapons and outlaw high-capacity ammunition clips."

A super PAC funded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Independence USA, has spent more than $2 million in the race to both endorse Kelly and knock two of her opponents with strong gun-rights records, including former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson (the only white candidate running in this multi-candidate field).

"In the race to replace Jesse Jackson, watch out for Debbie Halvorson. When she was in Congress before, Halvorson got an 'A' from the NRA," argued an Independence USA TV ad, adding: "Debbie Halvorson -- when it comes to preventing gun violence, she gets an 'F.'"

Another ad by the group goes, "In the race for Congress, the big issue -- fighting gun violence. Debbie Halvorson and Toi Hutchison both earned an 'A' from the NRA. They can't be trusted."

(Hutchison has since dropped out of the race and has endorsed Kelly, providing more evidence that Kelly is the candidate to beat on Feb. 26.)

While this is just one race occurring in a city that has been plagued by gun violence, next week’s special primary highlights three important points:

1. The National Rifle Association has become anathema to many Democratic voters. That’s especially true in the wake of the organization’s combative public relations campaign after the Newtown shootings, which included the NRA invoking President Barack Obama’s daughters in an advertisement attacking the president. According to last month’s NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, just 20 percent of Democrats had a favorable view of the NRA, versus 57 percent who had an unfavorable view. (That’s compared with 64 percent of Republicans and even 49 percent of independents who hold a favorable view of the organization.) In past Democratic primaries, an NRA endorsement was either a badge of honor or something that at least wasn't viewed as a major liability. That may not be true anymore, at least in congressional districts like this one in Illinois.

2. Bloomberg’s organizations have become a countervailing force. Mark Glaze, the executive director for another Bloomberg organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, argues that one of the biggest reasons why gun-control laws have been weakened over the past decade is because “the NRA has been the only game in town.” But as the Illinois race has proved, Bloomberg’s groups are willing to spend millions in races on behalf of candidates supporting gun control. (Interestingly, the NRA has not spent money in this particular Democratic primary.) As one Democratic strategist tells First Read, “Candidates no longer have to fear the NRA mobilizing disproportionate force against them. They just need some backup.”

3. But does this apply outside of urban areas? That could be the biggest question moving forward after Tuesday’s race. While the NRA is unpopular with Democrats and while Bloomberg’s group have displayed their muscle, does that also hold true in places like West Virginia (where Democrats will be competing to replace retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller) or even in Iowa (which has open Senate and House seats in 2014)? “West Virginia and Illinois will always be different,” Glaze says, noting that states like West Virginia have “more hunting, more guns, and less crime.” He adds, “That creates a different political dynamic.” Indeed, the NRA is running newspaper ads in states like Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina -- where Democratic senators are running for re-election next year -- opposing the Obama administration’s gun-control proposals.


Children's Exposure to Violence, Part 1 
Public Affairs Event Nov 29, 2011
Tags: Violence, Children 
1 hour, 42 minutes 227 views

Children's Exposure to Violence, Part 2 
Public Affairs Event Nov 29, 2011
Tags: Violence, Children 
1 hour, 3 minutes 1,052 views

Children's Exposure to Violence, Part 3 
Public Affairs Event Nov 29, 2011
Tags: Violence, Children 
1 hour, 11 minutes 60 views

Second Amendment Rights 
Public Affairs Event Jan 15, 2013
Tags: Second Amendment, Gun Control, Violence
21 minutes 157 views 
Reducing Gun Violence Summit News Conference 
News Conference Jan 15, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence
19 minutes 47 views 

Mayor Bloomberg and Governor O'Malley 
Public Affairs Event Jan 14, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence
47 minutes 992 views

Gun Injuries, Federal Law, and Technology 
Public Affairs Event Jan 14, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence
1 hour, 26 minutes 221 views

Background Checks and Gun Trafficking  
Public Affairs Event Jan 14, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence
2 hours, 6 minutes 226 views

Gun Violence and High-Risk Individuals 
Public Affairs Event Jan 14, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence, Mental Health
1 hour, 31 minutes 175 views

Guns and Public Health and Safety 
Public Affairs Event Jan 14, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence
53 minutes 250 views

Gun Control, Mental Health, and Security 
White House Event Dec 19, 2012
Tags: Gun Control, Violence
37 minutes 4,835 views

Reducing Gun Violence Summit News Conference 
News Conference Jan 15, 2013

White House Anti-Gun Violence Task Force Proposals 
White House Event Jan 16, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence
27 minutes 6,197 views

Open Phones on Gun Control 
Call-In Jan 13, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence
21 minutes 52 views

Vice President Biden on Gun Violence Meeting 
White House Event Jan 11, 2013
Tags: Violence in media, Gun Control, Violence

Representative Bob Goodlatte on Gun and Immigration Laws 
Call-In Jan 16, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence, Immigration 
34 minutes 348 views

Open Phones on Obama Administration Gun Violence Plan 
Call-In Jan 16, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence 
19 minutes 67 views

Gun Control Activists  
News Conference Jan 16, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence 
23 minutes 80 views

Open Phones on Gun Control 
Call-In Jan 13, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence 
21 minutes 52 views

Open Phones 
Call-In Jan 17, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence 
1 hour, 5 minutes 128 views

Gun Control Proposals 
Call-In Jan 17, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence
50 minutes 695 views

Vice President Biden Remarks at U.S. Conference of Mayors 
Public Affairs Event Jan 17, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence
58 minutes 617 views

Open Phones Call-In Jan 17, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence
1 hour, 0 minutes 87 views

Newsmakers with Senator Patrick Leahy 
Interview Jan 17, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence, Immigration, 113th Congress
32 minutes 268 views

Gun Violence Prevention and Transportation Security 
Public Affairs Event Jan 18, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence
1 hour, 3 minutes 483 views

Weekly Presidential Address 
White House Event Jan 18, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence
4 minutes 65 views

Vice President Biden on Gun Violence Meeting 
White House Event Jan 11, 2013
Tags: Violence in media, Gun Control, Violence

Gun Violence Prevention 
Senate Committee Jan 30, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence 
3 hours, 47 minutes 15,054 views

Open Phones on Gun Violence Prevention Hearing 
Call-In Jan 30, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence 
35 minutes 611 views

Open Phones 
Call-In Jan 31, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence 
58 minutes 131 views

President Obama Remarks on Gun Control 
White House Event Feb 4, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence 
21 minutes 1,709 views

Gun Trafficking Legislation 
News Conference Feb 5, 2013
Tags: Gun Control, Violence

GOP fears Obama will jilt them on immigration

A recurring fear has colored Republicans’ attitude toward the current immigration reform debate in Congress: President Barack Obama has no actual interest in reaching a deal, and is instead pursuing the issue to exacerbate the GOP’s problems with Hispanic voters.
Yet all of the evidence so far – whether in his speeches and or his relations with Congress – suggests he and his administration clearly want a deal that he could sign into law.
Politics, of course, play an undeniable role in the renewed effort to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, especially given that Obama won more than 70 percent of the Latino vote in the 2012 election. Consequently, Republicans who had previously resisted any legislation that offered a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s some 11 million undocumented immigrants have now reversed course.
Isaac Brekken / AP
In this Jan. 29, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks about immigration reform Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas.
“The Republican Party is losing the support of our Hispanic citizens and we realize that there are many issues on which we think we are in agreement with our Hispanic citizens but this is a preeminent issue with those citizens,” Arizona Sen. John McCain, a Republican member of the bipartisan Senate group working toward an immigration accord, said bluntly upon the introduction of that proposal’s framework.
But Republicans have warily engaged the new debate over immigration with active fears that the president’s true intentions on immigration are half-hearted, at best.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who’s established himself as an outspoken conservative after just a couple of months on the job, was only the latest Republican to give voice to that fear.
“I don’t believe President Obama wants an immigration bill to pass, instead I think he wants a political issue,” he said in a speech on Wednesday, according to a report by the Houston Chronicle. ”His objective is to push so much on the table that he forces Republicans walk away from the table because then he wants to use that issue in 2014 and 2016 as a divisive wedge issue.”

 Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa talked about immigration policy, saying that the “time is now” for reform. It was noted that President Obama vowed to push for comprehensive immigration reform in his second term and various Republicans had been raising the issue. He said Congress should be able to tackle immigration reform while still debating gun safety laws and dealing with sequestration and not defaulting on its bills. Following his remarks, Mayor Villaraigosa answered questions submitted by members of the audience on topics including illegal immigration, the defense budget, President Obama’s cabinet picks, and his own political future.

It’s a fear that many of Cruz’s fellow elected Republicans appear to share.
“The question that many of us are asking, Republicans and Democrats, is he looking to play politics or does he want to solve the problem?” Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the former GOP vice presidential nominee, asked during his Jan. 27 appearance on NBC's “Meet the Press” preceding Obama’s major policy speech on immigration.
Republicans carefully watched that speech with concerns that Obama would eventually demagogue immigration. The president generally did the opposite; he used the speech to carefully embrace the bipartisan Senate talks, while warning that the administration would have its own backup plan at the ready for congressional consideration should the Senate talks fail. He further embraced a bipartisan speech in prime time, during his State of the Union address.
“As we speak, bipartisan groups in both chambers are working diligently to draft a bill, and I applaud their efforts,” Obama said. “So let’s get this done. Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away.”
But Republicans’ concerns that Obama will jilt the GOP on immigration very much inform the work toward a comprehensive reform law, and help explain part of the reason why the politics of the issue are so fraught.
When a draft of the White House’s immigration reform proposal leaked over the weekend, Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican who is helping negotiate the Senate plan, pronounced it dead on arrival in Congress.
“It’s a mistake for the White House to draft immigration legislation without seeking input from Republican members of Congress,” Rubio said in a statement.

 AOL Co-Founder Steve Case talks about the economy explains why he thinks comprehensive immigration reform may be the solution to attracting and keeping the brightest minds from around the world in America.

Rubio’s scorching statement was also intended to maintain credibility with conservatives, whose support – or, at least, tolerance – of an immigration overhaul the Cuban-American senator’s worked to win.
(And, for his part, Obama said that the leak was but a hiccup. “It certainly did not jeopardize the entire process,” he told an Univision affiliate in Texas. “The negotiations are still moving forward.”)
But as Republicans tread carefully toward an immigration agreement, they might also keep in mind the political skin Obama has put at stake with this issue.
For as ballyhooed as Obama’s 44-point advantage over Republican nominee Mitt Romney among Hispanic or Latino voters has been, the president had to quell frustration among Latino voters about his failure to pursue immigration in his first term. He faced some of his toughest questioning of the campaign on that very issue during a town hall last September with Univision’s Jorge Ramos, who pointedly accused Obama of breaking his promise to bring up an immigration reform bill during his first year in office. Latino activists have repeatedly criticized Obama for overseeing a record pace of deportations during his first term.
What’s more, Obama basically premised his plea for Latinos’ votes on the premise that, if they helped re-elect him, immigration reform would finally be achievable.
“What I’m absolutely certain of is if the Latino community and the American community that cares about this issue turns out to vote, they can send a message that this is not something to use as a political football, that people’s lives are at stake, that this is a problem that we can solve and historically has had bipartisan support,” Obama said in the same Univision forum.
That’s to say: if immigration reform fails during Obama’s second term, there will be more than enough political fallout to spread around.