When the Senate began considering an immigration reform bill last week that includes Senators Teddy Kennedy’s (D.-Mass.) and John McCain’s (R.-Ariz.) guest-worker/amnesty proposal, more than 20 House conservatives called a press conference to warn that an amnesty could cost the Republicans their congressional majority in the mid-term elections.
"In November, the majority that supported us over the last decade are not only angry, but will stay home from the polls," said Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R.-Ariz.)
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R.-Calif.) specifically pointed at McCain for potentially bringing down the wrath of voters on Republicans. "McCain and others will find out when their careers are shortened because of this issue," he said.
Rep. Steve King (R.-Iowa) said: "Anybody that does this [the Senate guest worker proposal] deserves to be branded with the scarlet letter ‘A’ for amnesty and they will pay for it in the polls."
Earlier in the week, when I asked House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R.-Ill.) if he would bring a floor vote on a final immigration bill that was not supported by the majority of Republicans, he did not give a clear answer. "I’m not going to tell you any specifics about it because we don’t know the specifics of what will first of all come out of the Senate and secondly what will come out of conference," he said. "So, we’re going to work through the process and see what we can do."
House Majority Leader John Boehner promised to support the will of the House majority. "I am the Majority Leader," he said. "My job is to help move the majority, and one of the things you have heard me say, and I will say it again, when you take a leadership position, you have got to take your own personal positions, and you need to set them aside for the good of the team. And sometimes you are not in agreement with the team, sometimes you are not. But my job as the Majority Leader is to help our majority, and I intend to do that."
Rep. Tom Tancredo (R.-Colo.), chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, said he was "relatively sure the majority of the House would reject a bill containing any tinge of amnesty."