A rift over how to pay for healthcare for millions of illegal immigrants led Rep. Raul Labrador on Wednesday to leave a bipartisan group in the House that is working on a comprehensive reform plan.
“I’m just going to move on and work with other members of the House Judiciary Committee to try to craft legislation that can actually pass the House,” the Idaho Republican told The Hill. “We just couldn’t agree on the healthcare.”
Labrador, who is backed by the Tea Party, said he left the group of eight House members because he was very concerned that the bill would not sufficiently protect taxpayers from paying for healthcare for illegal immigrants.
He says illegals should have no access to government-sponsored health care during their 15-year pathway to citizenship.
The group had met for about an hour before Labrador disclosed his decision, the Hill reports.
“It bothers me that they don’t have to pay for their own healthcare,” the congressman said. “I believe they should have to pay for their own health insurance. If they’re going to have the benefit of living in the United States — which is a privilege; it’s not a right — they should provide their own health insurance.”
The three Republicans remaining in the group are Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, John Carter of Texas and Sam Johnson, also of Texas.
The Democrats are Reps. Xavier Becerra and Zoe Lofgren of California, Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, and John Yarmuth of Kentucky.
Both Carter and Diaz-Balart proclaimed the meeting a success, though they did not acknowledge Labrador’s departure to the Hill.
“We have found a way forward,” Carter said.
Diaz-Balart told the Hill that he was “very optimistic” that the group would soon release its proposal.
“If they want to agree with the Democrats on something, I don’t think I should stand in their way,” Labrador said of his GOP colleagues. “But I just can’t agree with them.”
He added: “There will be a Republican plan that passes the House of Representatives. There will be a Republican plan. Whether it is a bipartisan plan or just a separate partisan plan, there will be something that passes the House of Representatives.”
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