Watching the debate on sanctuary cities on television, I was surprised to see some Republicans exchange handshakes and backslaps when the bill went down on a point of order. Now why would they do that? I thought Republicans wanted the bill to pass.
Here is what I think was going on (and a staffer I spoke with thinks so too): The worst thing that could happen to Straus would be for the session to end without an immigration bill becoming law. Of all the issues that inflame the Republican base, immigration is the one that the voters care about the most. If the sanctuary cities bill gets caught up in the end-of-session backlog and fails to pass, the anti-Straus forces will have a field day. You know what they are going to say: The speaker had a supermajority and couldn’t pass the bill. This is a scenario Straus cannot allow to happen.