Breitbart News has learned that on July 10th, the House GOP caucus will convene a special “internal conference” on the subject of immigration reform. IA Rep. Steve King (R-IA) began pressing for a conference in early June, having acquired more than the 50 votes necessary to force the closed-door session.
It will be the first time all House Republicans will have the opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns with House action on the issue. It will also allow GOP Leadership to gauge which provisions or proposals have the support of a majority of Republicans.
On Friday, the Senate passed the “Gang of 8″ immigration bill, providing amnesty for the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country. Just one-third of the GOP caucus in the Senate, and nobody in Leadership, support the legislation. If the Senate bill couldn’t attract more than one-third of GOP Senators, who as a whole are less conservative than the House caucus, it certainly won’t be able to attract a majority of GOP House members.
Speaker Boehner has promised to follow the “Hastert Rule” on immigration, only bringing to the floor those provisions that have the backing of a majority of his caucus.
“Boehner has said the Senate bill is DOA in the House,” a Hill source told Breitbart News. “And, he means it. The House won’t take any action on the Senate bill.”
The House has a similar bi-partisan “gang” effort that produced the comprehensive immigration bill in the Senate. The group has not yet finalized a proposal nor unveiled details about areas of agreement. While these talks continue, the House is moving several individual pieces of legislation through committees.
Last week, the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation that seeks to enhance enforcement of current law and reform, and in some cases expand, immigration in individual visa programs. The House Homeland Security Committee is considering legislation that, according to Hill staff, would actually weaken current law on border security.
Even moving separate provisions on security and enforcement may be problematic, though. “What’s the point of increasing enforcement if the President won’t follow the law,” Rep. King told Breitbart News. “We can’t legislate the President and Eric Holder to uphold their oaths and enforce the law.”
Over the weekend, Tea Party and conservative activists warned that they would maintain their strong opposition to any amnesty legislation. They are planning aggressive outreach to Members during the July 4th recess. If they follow through, it will set an important tone for the meeting on July 10th.