Interesting. I’m guessing Rubio has finally realized that his vigorous support for a bill whose only practical effect will be to add millions of Democrat voters to the electorate doesn’t sit well with the conservatives he will need if he runs for president in 2016. Via the Daily Caller:
In an interview on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Tuesday night, Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio indicated that he would not support the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill he had helped author unless it is changed…
“I think if those amendments don’t pass, then I think we’ve got a bill that isn’t going to become law, and I think we’re wasting our time,” Rubio replied. “So the answer is no. If they don’t pass, then we’ve got to keep working to ensure that we get to a bill that can become a law. We’re not interested in passing a Senate bill. We’re interested in passing a law that reforms a broken legal immigration system, that begins to enforce the law and that deals with the 11 million people who are here illegally.”
“And that’s the goal of this endeavor. And so if those amendments fail, we’ve got to go back to the drawing board and keep working until we can figure out one that will pass. But I don’t understand why anyone would be against it, as such. I don’t think there is a good reason to be against strengthening border security for our country.”
He’s still leaving himself plenty of wiggle room, but at least this appears to be a small step in the right direction.
Update: Jonathan Strong at the National Review makes a compelling case that Rubio’s recent tough talk on the amnesty bill is nothing more than a bluff, and that he has no intention of abandoning his own bill.
Yesterday, on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, he made his boldest comments to date, saying that he would vote against his own bill if amendments to strengthen it don’t pass on the Senate floor next week.
Despite this, however, his fellow Gang of Eight members don’t seem alarmed.
“The bill’s gonna pass. The question is how many Republicans can we get. From my point of view, the goal’s half the conference. I think that’s very achievable,” Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters yesterday.
Majority leader Harry Reid has also said it will be “pretty easy” to pass the bill.
“Look, the bottom line is very simple, and that is we welcome amendments that will improve the bill and broaden support for the bill, provided it doesn’t get at our core principles. And Marco Rubio is very aware of our core principles. I talk to him every day,” Senator Chuck Schumer said.
Moreover, in interviews with those who are in the midst of this fight, no one told me he believes that Rubio is actually concerned the bill will not pass the Senate or that he’s strongly considering walking away.
So Schumer and Rubio share core principles? Hmmm.