WASHINGTON, May 10 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama asked El Paso, Texas, today if those in Congress who walked away from immigration reform were ready to come back to the table. If El Paso could give an answer, it might have said: “Not until 2013.”
And maybe that is what Obama is thinking too. Maybe today we saw his game plan for a signature initiative once he is re-elected. Call it Manifesto for 2013.
He knows and El Paso knows the Republican House will not back an immigration overhaul before the 2012 election. He probably also knows that Hispanic voters, 67 percent of whom voted for him in 2008, will back him again and patiently wait for him to deliver his 2008 reform promise in 2013.
It is wise for him to begin laying the path to 2013 now, getting big business on board, tightening enforcement and pushing on some smaller achievements like visa reform. In El Paso, they might say “paso a paso” -- that’s Spanish for “step by step.”
Washington Extra is a daily newsletter about politics and economics in Washington, sent to subscribers by e-mail.
To be added to the mailing list on a complimentary basis, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are our top stories from Washington:
Battle lines harden ahead of US budget talks
Battle lines hardened in Washington on Tuesday as the Obama administration geared up for an intensive round of talks with lawmakers to allow the United States to avoid an unprecedented default on its debt. [ID:nN1090649]
China offers concession on key US trade irritant
China on Tuesday pledged to make it easier for U.S. companies to win Chinese government contracts, addressing a long-standing complaint of foreign corporations seeking a piece of the fast-growing market. The pledge was made in two days of talks between the world’s two biggest economies which ended with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner hailing progress in the often tense relationship between Washington and Beijing. [ID:nN10108475]
Appeals court questions Obama healthcare lawsuit
An appeals court sharply questioned whether the state of Virginia could challenge President Obama’s signature healthcare law, which requires Americans to buy insurance. The case is the first to reach oral arguments at a federal appeals court and experts have said a ruling here could influence other pending challenges to the healthcare law, including a June 8 hearing by another appeals court. [ID:nN10272418]
Obama makes immigration case at Mexico border
President Obama made his case for immigration reform on a visit to the U.S. border with Mexico, reaching out to Hispanic voters whose support he is counting on to win re-election next year. Obama contended in a speech in El Paso, Texas, that tightening border controls while providing a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants will improve U.S. security as well as the economy. [ID:nN09255994]
U.S. hopes to question bin Laden’s wives
The United States hopes to question the detained three wives of Osama bin Laden although Pakistani officials played down the possibility of any speedy access, saying no decision had been made. A Pakistani decision to allow U.S. investigators to question the women could begin to stabilize relations between the allies that have been severely strained by the killing of the al Qaeda leader. [ID:nL3E7GA0HH]
Coming weeks will test US troop surge in Afghanistan
U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan are heading into what may be a pivotal fighting season that determines the scale of an initial U.S. troop withdrawal starting this summer. A senior defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the weeks up to early- to mid-June would reveal the extent to which Obama’s decision to send an extra 30,000 troops to Afghanistan had weakened the Afghan insurgency. [ID:nN10232653]
To see what we are blogging on Front Row Washington, go to blogs.reuters.com/frontrow/