President Barack Obama would like to see immigration reform fail in the House so the issue can be used as a campaign platform for Democrats to seize control of Congress, Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul said Sunday.
"There is this political drop-off where I do believe the president has a strategy in some respects they would like to see this fail in the House so that they could possibly take back the House, which I think is their grand design at the end of the day," said McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
"Then they have free reign over the Congress and they can pass whatever they want," McCaul said on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" program.
The Senate on Thursday passed an omnibus immigration reform measure by a significant bipartisan margin. However, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio says the bill has little chance of getting enough Republican support to pass the lower chamber.
Instead, McCaul and other Republicans will propose separate measures focusing on border security and reforming the immigration bureaucracy to sped the legalization process and ease red tape for those applying for work visas.
"Our bill will be a lot tighter than the Senate bill, that's the only way the speaker can get a majority of our conference supporting that," McCaul said.
McCaul's measure would require an apprehension rate of 90 percent at the southern border and that a plan be submitted to Congress within 30 days of how overall security would be achieved by the Obama administration.
"We think the mistake with what the Senate did was throwing dollars ad hoc down at the border, which is what we've done in the last decade without any measurable results," McCaul said.
The Senate bill calls for hiring an additional 20,000 border patrol agents, but McCaul called it an arbitrary number and Republicans are also concerned the legislation doesn't fund the new positions.
Asked if Republicans face political repercussions among Latino voters if they fail to pass immigration reform, McCaul agreed there would be consequences.
"I think our leadership is committed to this, and I think we want to be the party of solutions as well, and not just saying no to anything and calling it amnesty and killing it," McCaul said.
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