Boehner: Taking Personal Position on Immigration Bill Would be 'Worst Thing in the World'
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the GOP caucus is planning a July 10 meeting to discuss the way forward on immigration reform after the Senate's expected passage of the amended Group of Eight bill.
Congress leaves tomorrow for the Fourth of July recess. The Senate began its cloture vote on the immigration reform bill shortly after noon and voted 68-32 to move forward. A final vote on the bill was scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
"We're going to go home for the recess next week and listen to our constituents. And when we get back, we're going to have a conference on July the 10th to have a discussion about the way forward," Boehner told reporters on the Hill today.
"I don't want to make any predictions on what the outcome of that conversation is going to be, but we're going to have a conversation and determine a pathway forward."
Boehner said "people have to have confidence that the border is secure before anything else is really going to work; otherwise, we repeat the mistakes of 1986."
The speaker has threatened to use the Hastert rule, meaning a majority of the majority approve of the bill, before bringing it to the floor for debate and a vote.
When asked if he personally supported a pathway to citizenship for an estimate 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country, Boehner said his job "is to determine the policy provisions that could be in the House bill."
"My job, as I've told you all year, is to facilitate a discussion between both parties in terms of how we're going to deal with this issue. And I'm going to continue to facilitate that conversation," he said.
"...I have made it clear, since the day after the election, that I thought this political football should stop and that the Congress should deal with this issue. It's not easy. If it were easy, it'd been fixed a long time ago."
Boehner said right now "the worst thing in the world that can happen is for me to take some specific -- some provision and declare my support or my opposition to it. All that's going to do is slow down the progress."
"You know, the American people have to have confidence that -- that we've been thorough about this and that we've done a good job with it, because without that confidence, the trust between the American people and their government just slips," he continued. "All you have to do is look at Obamacare, rammed through the Congress with a bare minimum of votes, signed into law by the president, and -- and the American people are in more opposition to it today than the day it was passed. That is not how we want to deal with immigration."
He lauded the Gang of Seven immigration negotiators in the House for their work. "Now they're hung up on a couple of issues, and I think they've acknowledged that, but I would encourage them to continue -- to continue their work, because as we look for -- look for a path forward, we're going to need the ideas from both parties," he said.
"Me taking a position one way or another somewhere is just going to slow the process down and make it more difficult," Boehner added. "I've got a difficult enough job as it is. I don't need to make it harder."