The Edge: Boehner Talks Tough on Immigration; Leaves Wiggle Room

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Boehner Talks Tough on Immigration; Leaves Wiggle Room

House Speaker John Boehner went out of his way today to make it clear that he won't pass an immigration reform bill that doesn't have the majority of his caucus behind it.

"I don't see any way of bringing an immigration bill to the floor that doesn't have a majority support of Republicans," the speaker said.

While that may sound like tough talk, it leaves Boehner a ton of room to maneuver. With conservative Republicans split on the issue, the speaker could put an immigration reform bill on the floor with support from the majority of his caucus, while banking on some Democratic support to pass it. Insiders figure Boehner needs as few as 100 to 120 Republican lawmakers -- far short of the 218 needed -- to pass a bill.

But Boehner is still waiting to see what the Senate does before making any bold moves. In a closed-door meeting of House Republicans today, Boehner denied immigration reform opponent Rep. Steve King's request to talk in detail about reform, saying he plans to wait until a special July 10 meeting to delve into the subject.

Chris Frates
cfrates@nationaljournal.com

TOP NEWS

NSA DIRECTOR SAYS SURVEILLANCE PROGRAMS HAVE FOILED OVER 50 PLOTS. National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander told members of the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday's that the agency's recently disclosed surveillance tactics have led to the disruption of more than 50 terrorist plots, The Atlantic Wire reports. The House panel gave Alexander a friendlier hearing than the Senate Appropriations Committee did last week. NSA Deputy Director John Chris Inglis, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce, and Director of National Intelligence General Counsel Robert Litt also appeared before the panel. Joyce offered a sketch of four specific instances in which the surveillance aided in terrorism investigations, while Cole outlined the NSA's interaction with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Litt contended that the FISC is "hardly a rubber stamp" for intelligence community actions. Read more

  • Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Justin Amash, R-Mich., are pushing legislation that would restrict the domestic-surveillance capabilities of the NSA. Read more

BOEHNER: IMMIGRATION REFORM SHOULD BE BACKED BY MAJORITY OF GOP, DEMS. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said at a press conference Tuesday that he expects to gain bipartisan backing for any immigration reform legislation he brings to the House floor. "I don't see any way of bringing an immigration bill to the floor that doesn't have majority support of Republicans," said Boehner, who also criticized the determination among some Senate Democrats to resist compromises with Republicans that could yield broader support for the immigration bill pending in the Senate.Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced Tuesday that he will file cloture on the immigration bill by Monday. Read more

PUTIN OPPOSES G8 EFFORTS TO OUST SYRIA'S ASSAD. The final communique issued by participants in the Group of Eight meeting in Northern Ireland calls for an end to the Syrian civil war, but does not mention Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Reuters reports. While President Obama and other leaders at the summit have expressed a shared interest in Assad's ouster, Russian President Vladimir Putin has resisted such efforts. "It is unthinkable that President Assad can play any part in the future of his country. He has blood on his hands," U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said following the talks. For his part, Putin criticized American plans to arm the Syrian rebels, and defended his own country's arms contracts with the Assad regime.

  • "There are different types of supplies. We supply weapons based on legal contracts to a legal government," Putin said. "And if we sign these contracts (in the future), we will supply (more arms)." Read more

U.S., TALIBAN DELEGATIONS TO BEGIN NEGOTIATIONS THIS WEEK. With the U.S. scheduled to withdraw its combat troops from Afghanistan at the end of next year, officials said Tuesday that the United States will launch formal peace negotiations with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, on Thursday, The Washington Post reports. The peace talks will include a delegation approved by Taliban leader Mohammad Omar, while the U.S. delegation will feature senior officials from the White House and the State Department. The government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai -- with which the Taliban has refused to negotiate -- will not be a party to the first round of talks. Read more

  • The U.S. military formally transferred control of security to Afghan forces on Tuesday, but those forces are struggling absent American support, The New York Times reports. Read more

WHY DEMOCRATS ARE ALREADY JUMPING ON THE HILLARY BANDWAGON. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., was no friend of Hillary Rodham Clinton's during the 2008 presidential campaign, becoming one of the first female Democratic officials to break with the sisterhood to back Barack Obama. But Tuesday, in a fundraising appeal, she's proclaiming her support for Clinton, long before the former secretary of State has made any decisions about running—at least publicly. Her announcement is just the latest sign of the obvious—that Clinton is as good as running for president in 2016. And as National Journal's Josh Kraushaar reports, we'll be entertaining this kabuki dance for a while longer. Read more

THE DANGER OF IRAN'S NEW PRESIDENT. In many ways, the election of Hassan Rouhani to Iran's presidency is excellent news, coming when there are so many other distractions in the region, especially the civil war in Syria. Rouhani, a moderate on foreign policy, authored the only nuclear-suspension pact that Iran ever made with the West, and he has pledged to isolation-weary Iranians that he will address the sanctions that strangle their economy. But in other ways Rouhani may prove more difficult to deal with than the president he is replacing, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, National Journal's Michael Hirsh reports. Read more

TOMORROW

OBAMA TO GERMANY. On Wednesday, Obama will meet with German President Joachim Gauck and will later attend lunch with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. A joint open press conference will follow. Watch live at 6:30 a.m. ET. Obama will also give an address at the Brandenburg Gate. Watch live at 9:00 a.m. ET. Obama will later attend a dinner and reception hosted by Merkel.

HOUSE COMMITTEE TO MARK UP EDUCATION ACT. The House Education and the Workforce Committee will mark up a bill to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act on Wednesday. The bill is slated to be on the House floor in July, according to committee Chairman John Kline, R-Minn. The legislation would dramatically reduce the federal role in public schools by sketching out broad requirements on teacher evaluations reporting on student achievements. It is likely to face opposition from Democrats who think such proposals would hurt children in low-performing states such as Mississippi.

NJ'S 'BACK IN BUSINESS' FORUM TO FEATURE HEALTH CARE, ENERGY, JOBS DISCUSSIONS.National Journal's Margot Sanger-Katz will moderate a panel Wednesday on "Health Care Solutions Washington Can Learn From" that will feature Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., as well as health executives and policy experts. The 1:30 p.m. discussion is part of National Journal's daylong "Back in Business" forum on innovation around the country.

QUOTABLE

"Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful. They stroke their face. If they're a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?"—Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, talking about his support of the House's ban on abortion more than 20 week into pregnancy (The Atlantic Wire)

BEDTIME READING

WELCOME TO THE BOSSLESS OFFICE. Inside Menlo Innovations a few things stand out: There are only two doors, one conference room, and no bosses ("in the traditional sense"), New York Magazine's Matthew Shaer reports. Layoffs, promotions, and other big decisions are decided by a committee, and a chart in the office shows every employee's salary. Though 80 percent of Fortune 1000 companies had some type of team management structure as of 2000, more recently some companies have begun to experiment with breaking down that structure to varying degrees. But despite the "flat" nature of Menlo, during a kickoff meeting Schaer attended, a leader emerged from the group, suggesting that "the triumph of the flattened office may be the creation of work environments in which leaders organically arise." Read more

TODAY'S PHOTO GALLERY

WHITE HOUSE PETS WITH THEIR OWNERS.BuzzFeed has compiled a gallery of "The 42 Best Photos Ever Taken of White House Pets." Highlights include President Clinton's cat Socks holding court in the Oval Office; President George W. Bush's dog Buddy swimming in the White House fountain; and former first lady Barbara Bush and her two dogs sporting matching sweatsuits. See it here.

OVERLOOKED

SCOTUS CITES BUSH V. GORE FOR FIRST TIME. Despite being known as one of the most controversial legal decisions in recent history, Justice Clarence Thomas's dissent in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council marks the first time the Supreme Court has cited Bush v. Gore in an opinion, Talking Points Memo reports. Read more

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