There are many divisions within the Republican party right now, but one of the biggest is the division between the pro-business types and those trying to appeal to their largely xenophobic, anti-immigrant base. The Chamber of Commerce seems to be throwing down the gauntlet on the issue.
Tom Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the GOP shouldn’t even field a presidential candidate in 2016 unless Congress passes immigration reform this year.
“If the Republicans don’t do it, they shouldn’t bother to run a candidate in 2016,” Donohue joked at an event on infrastructure investment in D.C. “Think about that. Think about who the voters are. I just did that to get everybody’s attention.”
Donohue, whose group has spent months pushing House Republicans to support immigration reform, was speaking about what he thought a dysfunctional Congress could still get done in 2014.
“You think Congress can get immigration reform done this year, in an election year?” moderator Eamon Javers asked Donohue.
“Yes, yes,” Donohue replied.
National Association of Manufacturers President Jay Timmons said he also thought immigration reform could pass this year, perhaps in a lame-duck session.
“This is a unified position of the business community,” Timmons said.
Yes, but it clashes completely with the conservative base, which rails against “establishment” Republicans who are, in their view, selling out the country by daring to treat immigrants like actual human beings. It’s a classic battle between money and ideology. And it’s going to be fun to watch.