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NBC's Gregory Hypes Claims 'Conservative Opposition' to Immigration Bill Will Cause GOP 'Death Spiral'

On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory lobbed this softball to Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez about the immigration bill being debated in Congress: "...are you going to be able to overcome conservative opposition to the idea of reforming a pathway to citizenship to get meaningful reform?" [Listen to the audio]

Later on the show, after political director Chuck Todd fretted that the legislation may not pass the House, Gregory seized on comments from South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham on the June 16 broadcast: "[He] was saying it's a death spiral for the GOP if they don't get reform done. But there are a lot of people in the House who might be willing to take him on, on that."

That teed up Republican strategist Mike Murphy, who often leans left, to follow Graham's lead: "I've been a fanatic for this issue for a long time, I'm a huge supporter of immigration reform....I'm hoping it passes because I'm tired of watching Democratic inaugurations in Washington, but it could very well fail."

Former Obama White House press secretary and current MSNBC contributor Robert Gibbs eagerly chimed in:

Leaving aside the irony that to get conservatives to support immigration reform we should double the size of a government bureaucracy in the Border Patrol – but I do think one of the things that Mike and many Republicans that are supportive of this are going to have to face is the reality of if this dies in the House, with this huge amount of border security in it, they're going to have really tough conversations with Latinos and Hispanics about what this party stands for, do they really want people to come out of the shadows?

Gregory couldn't manage to find any critics of the immigration bill to take part in the panel discussion.

Here are excerpts of the June 23 broadcast:

10:57AM ET

(...)

DAVID GREGORY: Senator Coburn, let me get your views on immigration right now at a critical time as we're heading toward a vote, as the Senate is moving on this, the House will take it up. What do you think, in the end, we're going to end up with, if anything, on immigration reform?

TOM COBURN: Well, my hope would be that we have a cogent border security plan, that we solve the difficulty of those living in the shadows, that they can come out, and that we don't ask the American people to trust us but we actually put out a cogent plan that actually solves the problem. A border with walls but also with doors, much like Reagan had espoused, and a way to where we continue this grand experiment where we have a mix of everybody coming here to better their families, better our country, and secure and enhance both their freedom and ours.

GREGORY: Congresswoman, is whatever's being debated on terms of border security in the Senate, is it enough to effect what's going to happen in the House? If you look at the experience of the farm bill here, are you going to be able to overcome conservative opposition to the idea of reforming a pathway to citizenship to get meaningful reform?

LORETTA SANCHEZ [REP. D-CA]: Well, that's really Speaker Boehner's job to get his votes out of his conference. But I believe if you're going to look at $30 million more into border security, I mean, that's now been put aside, this whole issue of border security, because we'll have the money to do that. The whole issue that's it's an economic drain, we just found out this week, hey, it's about $900 billion in the positive.

So I believe from three standpoints we need to get this done, and now is the time. We need to get it done from a Homeland Security perspective, we need to get it done because it's better for our economy, and we need to get it done because it's about traditional American family values, keeping our families together. These are families that are deacons in our church, PTA moms, little league coaches. They are part of our American fabric already.

(...)

11:21AM ET

GREGORY: Chuck Todd, yes, the other question that's going to be getting a lot of attention as we move forward, is what's happening on Capitol Hill this week over immigration and whether, in fact, reform is really at hand and we end up with in the end?

CHUCK TODD: I have been one of these people that says, "Oh, don't pay attention to all the chatter that, oh, immigration could get killed in the House, it may not get through the House, once the Senate gets 70-plus votes it'll move it's way..." And then watching the debacle on the farm bill, watching Speaker Boehner bring a bill, the entire leadership, bring a bill to the floor that they thought they had the votes for and they couldn't do it.

I do – and it goes to this point you were bringing up with Robert [Gibbs] – which is this, I saw the President overseas essentially neutered. Inability to do really much on Syria, not – there isn't this sense of urgency, how do you get Russia to move off its support of Assad, sort of this stalemate that's going there, inability to use the platform as leader of the free world there. Watching the Speaker of the House totally not being able to lead in the House. It makes you wonder, how does immigration get the through?

The Senate's working. Senate's a lonely, tiny little body here that seems to be working with some sort of diligence here. They're going to get something through. I still think it'll get 70-75 votes. I'm no longer believing that it can get through the House.

GREGORY: Well, that's, I mean, you know, Lindsey Graham on the program last week, Mike, was saying it's a death spiral for the GOP if they don't get reform done. But there are a lot of people in the House who might be willing to take him on, on that.

MIKE MURPHY: Yeah. No, look, I've been a fanatic for this issue for a long time, I'm a huge supporter of immigration reform and now the bill has been kind of loaded up with this border surge, which is a political maneuver, an expensive one, to try to get it through the conservative wing in the House, and it's dicey. I'm hoping it passes because I'm tired of watching Democratic inaugurations in Washington, but it could very well fail.

ROBERT GIBBS: Leaving aside the irony that to get conservatives to support immigration reform we should double the size of a government bureaucracy in the Border Patrol. But I do think one of the things that Mike and many Republicans that are supportive of this are going to have to face is the reality of if this dies in the House, with this huge amount of border security in it, they're going to have really tough conversations with Latinos and Hispanics about what this party stands for, do they really want people to come out of the shadows?

(...)