After a late meeting yesterday behind closed doors with the GOP caucus, House Republican leaders confirmed that there’s not the will in the lower chamber to take up the massive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate before the July Fourth recess.
“Today House Republicans affirmed that rather than take up the flawed legislation rushed through the Senate, House committees will continue their work on a step-by-step, common-sense approach to fixing what has long been a broken system,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas), and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said in a joint statement.
“The American people want our border secured, our laws enforced, and the problems in our immigration system fixed to strengthen our economy,” the leaders continued. “But they don’t trust a Democratic-controlled Washington, and they’re alarmed by the president’s ongoing insistence on enacting a single, massive, Obamacare-like bill rather than pursuing a step-by-step, common-sense approach to actually fix the problem.”
“The president has also demonstrated he is willing to unilaterally delay or ignore significant portions of laws he himself has signed, raising concerns among Americans that this administration cannot be trusted to deliver on its promises to secure the border and enforce laws as part of a single, massive bill like the one passed by the Senate.”
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) told Bloomberg News that the meeting revealed the majority of the caucus is “mostly opposed to the Senate bill, not to immigration reform.”
“While we think the Senate bill did some things in the right direction, we don’t think it’s the appropriate vehicle,” he added.
Cole said there was a prevailing feeling that constituents “simply don’t trust the federal government on this issue.”
“This administration in the Senate bill in particular has far too much executive latitude,” he continued. “Look, quite honestly people don’t trust the administration. It just suspended parts of its own signature legislation last week in healthcare. It went to war in Libya without congressional consent. It does a lot of things without coming to Congress. So the idea that you’re going to trust them to determine whether or not the border’s secure I think’s a nonstarter.”
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) blasted the GOP as shortsighted, saying “if we have a partisan point of view, you can’t pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
“I’m a pretty partisan kind of guy, right? So I should be the last one to ever lecture anybody on this issue. I don’t have a – I don’t have a lot of credibility in the past, but on this issue I think we have worked – look, I’ve worked with John McCain. I’ve worked with Paul Ryan in 2005,” Gutierrez said.
“So I am for security at the border. As a matter of fact, look what Democrats did in the Senate. They put nearly $40 billion into 20,000 more Border Patrol agents, although we doubled the number of Border Patrol agents in the last 10 years, 700 miles of more fencing. Those are not Democratic values. Those are requests that were made from the other side of the aisle in order to get the deal done.”