Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is warning the highest ranking GOP leader that supporting the Senate immigration bill could cost him his job. In a radio interview on the Laura Ingraham Show Friday, he called for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to block any immigration reform package that does not prioritize border security over legal status, including any kind of reform that “looks anything the Senate bill.”
Paul warns that a bill that grants legalization ahead of border enforcement would prove not only to be a Republican deal breaker, but apparently a House leadership job killer. Paul said:
PAUL: I want Congress to be in charge of whether the border is secure because I have more trust in the people’s representatives. Is it perfect?
INGRAHAM: It sounds like you’re for going to conference.
PAUL: I’m worried about conference. What I would say is that the only way to avoid a problem with conference is for the Speaker of the House to say that we are not going to conference and we will not allow a vote on anything coming out of conference that resembles the Senate bill. And if there were a much more limited bill that emphasizes border security first, that we would do that. But he has to hold the line, I think if he allows something to pass out of conference that looks anything the Senate bill and is passed with the majority of Democrats, then that would be the final thing that he does as speaker. And I think he knows that. And I hope that he will defend us on this and not pass anything that looks like the Senate bill.
Listen to it here.
The Senate bill already incorporates a “border surge” amendment that would increase the number of border patrol agents, additional fencing, and unmanned surveillance aircraft. Additionally, the border is already more secure than had been mandated by the 2007 reform effort. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) even once touted that the approved bipartisan Senate immigration bill has the “toughest enforcement measures in the history of the United States.”
But Paul’s warning to Boehner to disregard the bipartisan Senate bill undermines what the majority of Republicans want. At least 14 Republican senators, two dozen House Republican members and a majority of Republican voters want to see the Senate version of the immigration bill passed.