Even as he prepares to roll out a new budget -- a feat that has so far defied the president's talents -- Paul Ryan is reportedly playing a major role in crafting a immigration reform bill. Ryan's involvement suggests (1) he is broadening his approach to non-budget issues, and (2) that House conservatives are increasingly serious about getting something done. Politico reports:
A cluster of previously unknown GOP working groups — which are working with Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan — are reviewing immigration issues ranging from agricultural to high-tech visas, to border security and dealing with illegal immigrants already in the country. These proposals will supplement the main House bipartisan talks on immigration, which are being led by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Cuban-American Republican from Florida. Ryan has also been in contact with the bipartisan group, according to sources.
There have also been private conversations in leadership circles about what has gone wrong in the past. Republicans are examining why George W. Bush’s push for immigration reform failed. So far, they have concluded that the former president’s 2007 bill was perceived as amnesty, the amendment process caused controversy and the border was seen as insecure. Also, Republicans have this time talked upfront about potential roadblocks to immigration legislation — such as the expected desire to offset the cost of beefed-up border security, according to several sources.
All this behind-the-scenes activity shows a new intensity around immigration in the House and could be a harbinger for reform…
Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) said he is "hopeful … that rather than trying to do a major comprehensive reform, we will try and do it sequentially."