Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said that comprehensive immigration reform still remained a top priority for the House of Representatives this year.
"We must pass immigration reform," the Washington state Republican told the Spanish-language television network Univision, according to a transcript quoted by Politico
. The interview is to be broadcast on Sunday.
McMorris Rodgers chairs the House Republican Conference, making her the No. 4 GOP legislator in the lower chamber.
"It’s a priority for Republicans, for Democrats," she added. "There’s a recognition that it’s important to America. It’s important to our economy. America has long been the land of immigrants."
The immigration debate has been overshadowed by the federal government shutdown, now in its fifth day, and the upcoming negotiations between Congress and the White House over raising the nation's debt ceiling.
While the Senate passed an immigration reform bill
in June, Speaker John Boehner vowed that the House would not take an "Obamacare-like" approach to the issue. The House, instead, will address reform through individual legislation, he said.
But "over the last few weeks," Boehner "has continued to talk about the importance of the House moving forward on immigration reform," McMorris Rodgers told Univision. "I believe that we have a window here between now and the end of the year and that this is a priority."
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