Jeb Bush highlights immigration battle of GOP establishment vs newcomers
WASHINGTON — Former Govs. Haley Barbour and Jeb Bush, the folksy pol from Mississippi and the policy wonk from Florida, sat next to each other Thursday pitching immigration reform as vital for the economic future of an aging country.
"We have to change our policies. They are broken," Bush said. "That is a winning message in conservative America."
Across town, another conservative message is confronting the establishment voices epitomized by Barbour and Bush.
A small but undaunted group of conservative newcomers in the U.S. Senate — namely Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas — is shaping opposition to the immigration reform bill, casting it as amnesty wrapped in ineffective border security.
"There is no one amendment that can fix this bill," Lee said as debate began last Friday. "Indeed, there is no series of tinkering changes to turn this mess of a bill into the reform this country needs."
The old guard vs. new is just one layer in a complex debate but an important one — not just to the outcome of immigration reform but to the direction of the Republican Party.
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