by Chad Pergram and Charlie Spiering
A disagreement over the Senate-passed immigration bill caused the leadership of the House Democratic Caucus to meet Tuesday night to discuss new tactics for next week’s immigration debate.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., let members know that she expects a vote on immigration next week, but it’s uncertain whether the House will also vote on legislation to limit President Donald Trump’s authority to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
A battle looms over immigration this week and many Democrats believe Vice President Joe Biden’s history of working with leaders from both parties on tough issues will strengthen their hand on this issue.
But House Democrats behind the scenes are saying: “Biden’s not our man on immigration.”
For one, Biden is facing a political storm about his past statements on immigration. Those comments were unearthed this weekend by Breitbart News, a website that occasionally reflects the views of House conservatives.
Biden told radio host Hugh Hewitt in September 2006 that Republicans were misleading Americans with faulty information.
“I’ve been debating about immigration this whole year and you know the debate on immigration,” Biden said. “Let me tell you something. I’ve sat down and tried to piece it all together. I’ve got no idea whatsoever what the members of this caucus really believe on immigration. There’s no such thing.”
Breitbart News didn’t publish all of Biden’s remarks. The website only published what Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., posted on his blog.
Brat’s blog post quoted Biden’s comments about Republicans:
“When you’re trying to concoct a argument that somehow the American people are just out to lunch on this issue and to claim that we have some unified consensus position to the president, it’s basically just an inaccurate presentation of facts and a hell of a way to do it.”
Biden’s critics say his remarks undercut his credibility on the issue. They say it’s hypocritical for Biden to criticize those same positions and claim to have no knowledge of what they mean.
“The vice president appears to have completely forgotten that he himself not only supported amnesty during the Clinton years and has promoted a similar policy ever since,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.
“To assert that he is unaware of the views held by Democrats who voted for amnesty is a difficult for them to justify given his own record,” Goodlatte said.
The Associated Press reported:
When asked about Biden’s comments, Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Joe Crowley, of New York, responded, “Mr. Biden’s record speaks for itself.”
Democrats are searching for a way to respond to the rollout of President Trump’s rollout of his immigration orders without alienating their base and appearing to capitulate to the president.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has distanced himself from the president’s executive orders. That’s not an easy thing to do.
But amid frustrations over not having heard enough from Ryan on the issue, Pelosi told reporters that Republicans in Congress deserve the blame for the lack of immigration clarity from the White House.
“We have had a seven-day deportation tour so far,” Pelosi said. “And it’s not happening because the White House is not looking for cover.”
The federal government shutdown last year left immigration problems unresolved.