Rubio Opposes Plan for Immigration Bill Conference Committee

Sunday, 27 Oct 2013 10:18 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is publicly opposing a procedural mechanism planned by House GOP leadership and Senate Democrats that would fashion a comprehensive immigration by using a congressional conference committee that some fear would slip a backdoor amnesty plan through Congress.

Instead, the Florida Republican, a member of the Senate's "Gang of Eight" told Breitbart  through a spokesman Saturday that the "most realistic way to make progress on immigration would be through a series of bills."

Pushing through limited bills as a "ruse to trigger a conference that would then produce a comprehensive bill would be counterproductive," said Rubio spokesman Alex Conant in an email to Breitbart. "Furthermore, any such effort would fail, because any single senator can and will block conference," unless there are specific instructions "to limit the conference to only the issue dealt with in the underlying bill."

Rubio's turnaround marks a change of opinion for the senator who at one time was the lead voice for the Senate bill. However, he's been losing public support among Republican because of his immigration stance, but may regain backing among conservatives with his new push for a more piecemeal approach to immigration.

Key senators who were on the Gang of Eight have been pushing for the House to get to a conference committee, including Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, who endorsed the House's piecemeal approach. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has also commented that if there were to be a conference on the Gang of Eight bill, Senate Democrats would win.

The procedural mechanism allows that any immigration bill passed by the House to proceed to conference committee of both senators and congressmen where differences in legislation would be ironed out.

There is some support in the House behind going to conference, including from House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), has said he wants to confer with the Senate to "fix" the Gang of Eight bill. He has been working on his own bill to legalize the estimated 11 million undocumented aliens in the United States.

However, several House conservatives do not want a conference, and Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul has called on House Speaker John Boehner to oppose meeting on the Gang of Eight bill.

On Friday, Rubio told CNN that he favors the House's separate immigration bills, rather than the Senate's comprehensive bill, and said that a delay is acceptable on parts of the bill that Americans don't agree with.

"But my point – I still want to solve immigration," he said. "I think it’s an important issue for the country to deal with but I don’t think we should not do anything because we can’t do everything."

Related stories:

Rubio Tones Down Immigration Talk

Rubio's Name Draws Boos Over Immigration Plan

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