A push by House Republicans to reverse President Obama’s executive action on immigration has put their vulnerable Senate counterparts in a tough electoral spot.
The GOP faces a much tougher 2016 map, and Hispanic groups are warning of political fallout over the issue of deportations at a time when the party is trying to win the White House and defend its new Senate majority.
Worried about their party’s political fate, centrist Senate Republicans are balking at the prospect of a messy fight with the president.
Two other centrists, Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.), expressed reservations with the House effort last week.
With the House bill headed for certain defeat in the Senate, some GOP strategists predict it may not even get a vote in the upper chamber because it would needlessly imperil incumbents facing reelection.
“I don’t think they’ll vote on the House version. They’ll probably make some minor changes to it,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist.
O’Connell predicted that Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rubio, two potential 2016 presidential contenders, would approach the debate cautiously for fear of offending either conservative primary voters or Hispanics in the general election.