Boehner: No 'Comprehensive' Immigration Solution

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Immigration Bill

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told reporters on Tuesday that he is against a “comprehensive” solution for immigration reform. He also stated that he would follow the so-called “Hastert Rule,” which is the unwritten procedural rule asserting that the Speaker of the House will not bring up a bill unless the majority of his party supports it. 

Boehner said, “I don’t see any way of bringing an immigration bill to the floor that doesn’t have a majority support of Republicans.” One source claimed that, during a closed-door House conference meeting, Boehner said, “There’s this narrative being written in the press and by Democrats and, quite frankly by some Republicans, that I am pushing a comprehensive immigration bill, and that’s just not true. I think this is a problem we’ve got to deal with, but we’re going to deal with it our own way not the way the Senate’s dealing with it.”

But Boehner was referring to legislation originating in the House; if there were to be a House-Senate conference report on immigration reform, Boehner said, “We’ll see when we get there.” Meanwhile, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said he won’t acquiesce to the Senate’s comprehensive approach but intends to work on immigration legislation in pieces. This approach appears to have garnered support among Republicans and Democrats.

One source claimed Boehner does not think Senate Democrats will implement harsh border security measures in their bill.

“The only time any Speaker allows a major bill to pass without a majority of the majority is when there is zero leverage,” Boehner explained. However, he claimed it was almost impossible for that to happen in this case, adding:

Let me be clear: Immigration is not one of these scenarios. We have plenty of leverage, and I have no intention of putting a bill on the floor that will violate the principles of our majority and divide our conference. One of our principles is border security. I have no intention of putting a bill on the floor that the people in this room do not believe secures our borders. It’s not going to happen.

Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) is attempting to collect 50 signatures from GOP House members that would force a conference vote to formally adopt the Hastert Rule. He has already gathered 25 signatures, enough to refer his proposal to a committee. If he obtains 50 votes, he can force the committee to send it to the conference.

Boehner is hearing about his position from both sides; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) claimed Tuesday that if the Senate passes comprehensive reform by bipartisan vote, Boehner will cave. But Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said on Monday that if Boehner caves, he will lose his job. He explained, “If Boehner moves forward... and permits this to come to a vote even though the majority of Republicans in the House — and that’s if they do — oppose what’s coming to a vote, he should be removed as Speaker.”

When informed of Rohrabacher’s comments and asked whether he thought they were accurate, Boehner answered, “Maybe.” He also said, “I’m increasingly concerned that the White House and Senate Democrats would rather have this as an issue in the 2014 election rather than a result.”


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