Democrats will not accept a bill that does not provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and in a recent poll almost half of Republicans said they were less likely to support a legislator who supports a pathway.
Four Augusts ago, Congress was busy passing - in order to find out what was in it - a different mammoth, because "comprehensive," bill.
During the August 2009 recess, legislators conducted often tumultuous town halls where they discovered that intensity resided disproportionately among opponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Opponents' anger was registered emphatically in congressional elections 15 months later, which is one reason why the implementation of the act's most onerous provisions were delayed until 2014, after the 2012 presidential election.
The PPACA remains unpopular, and there are congressional elections in years divisible by two. Not even the Obama administration can ignore this constitutional fact.
So last Tuesday the administration said this about the act's mandate that in 2014 large employers provide expensive health care for their workers or pay a substantial penalty: Never mind.
Although the Constitution has no Article VIII, the administration acts as though there is one that reads: "Notwithstanding all that stuff in other articles about how laws are made, if a president finds a law politically inconvenient he can simply post on the White House website a notice saying: Never mind."
Never mind that the law stipulates 2014 as the year when employers with 50 full-time workers are mandated to offer them health care or pay fines. Instead, 2015 will be the year.
Unless Democrats see a presidential election coming.
This lesson in the Obama administration's approach to the rule of law is pertinent to the immigration bill, which at last count had 222 instances of a discretionary "may" and 153 of "waive."
Such language means that were the Senate bill to become law, the executive branch would be able to do pretty much as it pleases, even to the point of saying about almost anything: Never mind.
Will may be reached by email at georgew...@washpost.com.