Rep. Goodlatte Open to Salvaging Senate Immigration Bill via Conference
An aide to House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) confirmed for Breitbart News he is open to attempting to salvage the Senate’s immigration bill via a conference report with a single House bill or combination of House bills.
"As Speaker Boehner has emphatically stated, any immigration reform bill
and conference report must have a majority of support from the House
Republican majority," the House Judiciary Committee aide said in an email.
Despite this stance, Goodlatte's aide said that he "opposes the Senate bill since it makes many of the same mistakes made in the 1986 immigration law, which got us into this mess in the first place. Among his many concerns, the Senate bill does not adequately address the interior enforcement of our immigration laws and allows the President to waive many, if not most, of the bill’s requirements. Unlike the Senate, the House Judiciary Committee is taking a step-by-step approach to immigration reform, carefully and methodically reviewing each component in detail so that we get immigration reform right."
Goodlatte differs from House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Michael McCaul, who told Breitbart News that he does not think the House should try to salvage the Senate bill via a conference with any House bills.
Conservatives activists worry that House GOP leadership—Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Whip Kevin McCarthy and Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan—may take a group of House members to conference with the Senate bill. In conference, representatives for House GOP leadership would negotiate with Senate Democratic leadership, and potentially the White House, on what they would call a “compromise” on immigration reform. Conservatives worry the legislation that would come out of a conference would look more like the Senate bill than not—or even identical to the upper chamber's legislation.
Such a “compromise” would only receive a short amount of time for actual review, and votes could be whipped up without thorough scrutiny. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), whose amendment with Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) made a series of massive changes to the bill, argued to justify the amendment, saying his colleagues would "have more than 72 hours to read and review the proposal before any votes.”
When pressed further on what amount of time is acceptable for House GOP members to review the contents of a conference report to ensure it would match the talking points GOP leadership would use to sell it to the members, Goodlatte’s Judiciary Committee aide said that Majority Leader Cantor’s office answers “questions regarding floor timing/amount of time to review bills before they are voted.”
A spokesman for Cantor did not return Breitbart News’ request for comment when asked how much time is acceptable for members to review such a conference report if and when it comes to fruition.
UPDATE 11:00 a.m. EDT:
After publication of this article, a House Judiciary aide further confirmed that Goodlatte considers a conference with the Senate bill a potential option.
“Any final product must reflect conservative principles and be supported by a majority of the House Republican majority,” the aide said. “No decision has been made to go to conference with the Senate and simply going to conference on an immigration reform bill would have to mean that the final product will not look like or be the Senate bill. In fact, it won’t look like the Senate bill because the vast majority of the Republican Conference opposes the Senate bill and House Leadership has said over and over that the House will not take up a conference report that isn’t supported by a majority of Republicans. This assurance would be necessary to even agree to go to conference in the first place.”
The aide also added again that Goodlatte does not like the Senate bill.
“From the start, Chairman Goodlatte has made it clear that he believes the Senate bill is fundamentally flawed and unworkable because it repeats the mistakes of the past and does not guarantee the critical enforcement of our immigration laws,” the aide said. “Unlike the Senate, the House is taking a step-by-step approach to immigration reform, thoroughly and carefully examining each issue in detail so that the end result is a workable immigration system for the years to come.”