Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said that differences between the House and Senate on immigration reform are too big to bridge in 2014, The Hill
The Senate passed a comprehensive bipartisan immigration bill in June that would set a path to citizenship for the approximately 11 million people now in the U.S. illegally.
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McConnell said the differences between the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-led House are "irresolvable," the Hill reported.
"I don't see how you get to an outcome this year with the two bodies in such a different place," said McConnell.
McConnell is facing off against tea party opponent Matt Bevin in Kentucky's GOP primary
. Bevin has taken a hard-nosed anti-immigration stance.
Republican strategists including William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, and Erick Erickson, the editor-in-chief of RedState, have argued that this is not the time to tackle immigration. Doing so, they say, would call attention to divisions within the party and take attention away from the failures of President Barack Obama's signature Affordable Care Act.
House Republican leaders led by Speaker John Boehner had issued a statement of principles
on immigration, in conjunction with the recent House retreat, that would revamp the country's immigration laws a little at a time and in a way that non-tea party conservatives could live with.
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who helped to craft the principles, said he does not know if an immigration law can be passed. "That is clearly in doubt," he told ABC's "This Week" and depends on whether Democrats were willing to "secure the border," and "agree to not having an amnesty," The Hill reported.
Republican Rep. Jeff Denham of California who supports immigration reform, said that the House leadership has not given up, according to Breitbart.
"I think leadership's focus and my focus is to get [immigration] done as early as possible. It's part of our conference agenda right now. It doesn't go on the agenda without scheduling bills and scheduling time on the floor," Denham said.
Meanwhile, Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who backed the Senate immigration bill, said that McConnell was probably right about prospects for immigration reform.
"The Democrats want amnesty and the Republicans would like to solve this problem, but in the House they're not about to give amnesty," he said.
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