Towards the end of last month news broke that a bipartisan group of eight Senators had come together on an immigration reform plan that addressed increased border security, guest workers and employer verification, as well as a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in this country. It was reported that the “Gang of Eight” thought their plan could pass in the Senate by late spring or early summer “in overwhelming and bipartisan fashion,” and House Speaker John Boehner was “pretty optimistic” at the same time on the eventual passage a similar bipartisan bill in the works in the Republican-controlled House.
As the issue looked to be making progress on Capitol Hill, the president’s “back up plan” on immigration “leaked” over the weekend. The White House claims it was not on purpose but Republicans have pounced on the administration for allowing the proposal to go public without bipartisan input, with Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio quickly realeasing a statement Saturday night that the proposal would be “dead on arrival” and leaking the plan was “disappointing to those of us working on a serious solution.”
Appearing on the Sunday morning news shows, new White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough defended the administration’s decision to prepare a bill while bipartisan groups in Congress were writing their own versions to address the issue.
“He [Marco Rubio] says its ‘dead on arrival’ if it’s proposed. Well let’s make sure that it doesn’t have to be proposed,” McDonough said in an interview with Jonathan Karl on ABC’s This Week. “Let’s make sure that that group up there, the ‘Gang of Eight,’ makes the good progress on these efforts as much as they say they want to.”
The White House plan would allow illegal immigrants to become legal permanent residents of the United States, putting them on a path to eventual citizenship within eight years.
On ‘Real News’ Monday the panel discussed the details of the president’s “backup plan,” if the turn of events beginning with the leaked proposal will–in true Washington fashion–lead to the demise of what was such an optimistic start to 2013 for progress on an issue long debated and procrastinated in American politics.