Some conservative GOP lawmakers are pushing back against a comprehensive overhaul of immigration policy in a move that could further upset any chances of getting a bill through the House, regardless of what the Senate does.
According to Politico
, some lawmakers raised questions Wednesday in a Republican Study Committee meeting about the direction and speed of negotiations on a major bipartisan bill aimed at providing a pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million illegal immigrants now living in the United States.
“We should not be talking about any kind of pathway to citizenship if we are serious about solving the problem of illegal immigration,” said Pennsylvania Rep. Lou Barletta, one of the dissenters reportedly said at the meeting. “We should only be talking about securing our borders.”
Other Republican congressmen, including Iowa Rep. Steve King, expressed concern about the GOP’s sudden willingness to shift its long-held views about illegal immigration and what they consider a closed process that has kept members from offering their own proposals, Politico reported.
“[The] momentum was started by people who wanted to make an excuse, I believe, for the election results they promised to be otherwise,” King told reporters on Thursday. “We’ve held our powder dry and decided to come forward now because we’re seeing the inertia and we’re concerned about having this wash over us and not have the opportunity for constitutional conservatives in this country and in this Congress to have their voices heard.”
King and other conservatives are urging that any bill put forward by Republicans should be open to committee scrutiny and amendments on the floor. While the GOP leadership is reportedly receptive to the idea as a means to keep the peace, no promises have been made about opening the process up beyond the current bipartisan negotiations taking place in both chambers.
“There’s a number of committees that are working on this issue now,” House Speaker John Boehner said, according to Politico. “How we will consider it—there have been no decisions. Whether we’ll go first or the Senate will go first, it’s hard to gauge at this point. I’m continuing to urge members on both sides of the aisle to come together and address what I think is a very big issue in our country.”
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