House Negotiators Reach Deal on Immigration Bill

Image: House Negotiators Reach Deal on Immigration Bill Rep. John Carter

Friday, 17 May 2013 10:41 AM

By Lisa Barron

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After teetering on the brink of failure earlier this week, House negotiators reached a tentative deal Thursday on a bipartisan immigration reform bill they hope to release in early June.

According to Politico, Rep. John Carter announced the deal after a two-hour meeting of eight Republican and Democratic lawmakers, some of whom only a day before had threatened to withdraw from the negotiations.

Before the meeting, Carter indicated he was optimistic. "I'm encouraged that we may have a meeting of the minds," the Texas Republican said. "But one way or the other, I'm not going to be sitting in a room, going through the motions and not solving any problems anymore."

"I think for a long time we've said we're so very close," California Democrat Xavier Becerra told reporters after the meeting. "So as long as we can make progress, that’s the most important thing."

One of the main hang-ups during bipartisan talks had been what to do about a guest worker program for seasonal and low-skill workers. Apparently, agreement on that issue still remains elusive, and both sides will draw up their own separate proposals, Politico reported.

Agreement on healthcare for immigrants on a path to citizenship is also another issue the bipartisan group is still working on, and may decide to separate from the main bill.

The developments in the House came as the Senate Judiciary Committee continues consideration of the immigration bill drafted by a bipartisan group of eight lawmakers in that chamber.

The eight members of the House immigration group include Republicans Carter, Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, Sam Johnson of Texas, and Raul Labrador of Idaho. The Democrats are represented by Becerra, John Yarmuth of Kentucky, Zoe Lofgren of California, and Luis Gutierrez of Illinois.

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