Could the Next House Speaker Do More on Immigration Reform?

Bloomberg | September 28, 2015

With Speaker John Boehner’s imminent retirement, the conventional wisdom is that his second-in-command will take his place. “I think Kevin McCarthy would make an excellent speaker,” Boehner said Friday of the California Republican who has been serving as his chief deputy since June. While he’ll face plenty of competition, McCarthy has an advantage, largely because he’s raised and spent more money helping to elect the Republicans who will be voting on whether to give him a promotion. That could raise some intriguing political possibilities for one issue that’s been stalled in the House.

On paper, McCarthy is one member of the House leadership team who has a vested interest in moving forward with immigration reform. His district, based in Bakersfield, California, is 35 percent Latino and heavily dependent on migrant labor for its agricultural industry, which brought in $7.5 billion to Kern County in 2014. A 2012 UC Berkeley-Field Poll found that 47 percent of California Republicans favor a path to citizenship.

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