At Pete’s Diner in Washington D.C., just a couple of blocks from the Supreme Court building, it is not uncommon to find Speaker of the House John Boehner in there eating breakfast. Perhaps this is why 13-year-old Carmen Lima and 16-year-old Jennifer Martinez were able to be there to speak with him on-camera.
They asked Boehner if they might have a word with him, and he begrudgingly obliged. Lima asked how it would feel if Boehner had to tell his children that he was never coming home, the Speaker replied, “That wouldn’t be good.” Lima then informs him that is what happened to her. While futzing with his breakfast, he says, “I’m trying to find some way to get this thing done.”
The “thing” he is referring to is immigration reform, a central issue in the 2012 campaign for both parties. This summer, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill that has since been languishing in the House of Representatives. At the end of his encounter with Lima (but before speaking to Martinez) Boehner says, “I will try to find a way to move the bill forward.” However, hours later in a press conference, Boehner said this, according to POLITICO, “we have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill,” later adding that he wants to deal with the issue in smaller bills, what he calls a “step-by-step” solution.
Boehner’s problem is both the Senate bill’s path to citizenship that immigration hardliners call “amnesty” for entering the country illegally. Like with the budget resolution that could have avoided the shutdown, the votes for passage are there. Yet, with what is sure to be a heated 2014 mid-term election campaign, many Republican’s fear far-right primary challengers the way children fear the proverbial monsters under their beds.