Congress is in recess this week, but lawmakers say they're committing themselves to a full agenda when they return in early April. They've talked about tackling both gun legislation and immigration reform next month. Political columnist David Hawkings at Hawkings Here for Roll Call talks about the details.
On Republican Eric Canter's appearance on Fox News yesterday talking about immigration and whether his stance has changed from the past: "It absolutely is. My first thought was that was so three years ago. That was the big issue at the end of 2010, the so-called Dream Act. The Democrats and Obama pushed very hard for that at the end of the 2010-midterm elections. They came up short on the Senate. And even though they came up short in the Senate, Canter was dead-set against this bill. So he is now showing a shift that the Democrats will probably laugh off as way too late."
On what we can expect immigration reform to look like at this point: "There's a general agreement now that there should be a path to citizenship for everyone. There are bi-partisan Democratic and Republican groups both in the Senate and House working on package that would provide both a path to citizenship for all 11 million illegals in the country. In return, there would be some assurance that the border would be more secure. And then a second component, which seems to be more the sticking point at the moment, is the creation of a new guest worker program to allow more migrants to come legally, work in an orderly way, work in the United States for a time, and then go. That's the big sticking point at the moment."
On whether there is a timeline for passing immigration reform: "There's no formal timeline, but there is sort of a momentum timeline. The president sort of purposefully got out of the way to allow these bipartisan workers groups to do their work. He now seems to be signaling that he's about out of time to wait for them. He did two interviews with Spanish-language TV stations this week in which he said, 'I'm expecting them to have a deal.' With each passing day when there is no deal, when they have been promising a deal up until now, there's more and more worry that the momentum is slipping away. Even though they keep saying they're 90 percent there. It's that last 10 percent that's proving elusive."
Listen to the full analysis here.