Rep. John Carter (R-TX), a key figure in the House of Representatives’ immigration negotiations, said Monday that House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) should not do anything on immigration in 2014 as it would distract from Obamacare.
Boehner announced in a GOP conference meeting and to the press that he and other House GOP leadership officials, with help from ex-Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) staffer Rebecca Tallent, are drafting immigration “principles” to push for amnesty.
“I’m opposed to voting on a bill this year,” Carter said. “I was in conference when John announced that. It was a surprise to me as much as it was a surprise to anybody else.”
Carter was one of the key negotiators in the now-defunct House “Gang of Eight” that fell apart after he and Reps. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) and Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) abandoned the group and denounced amnesty. Only Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) remained in that House group after it fell apart last year.
Carter said, since it is an election year, it is the “wrong” time for Boehner to try to move forward on amnesty. “I personally think this is the wrong time from our standpoint to go forward on immigration,” he said. “It’s an election year. I mean, Texas is in the middle of primaries right now.”
Boehner’s effort, he said, could “stampede” the House GOP conference by distracting from Obamacare. “I’m concerned about an effort to stampede our conference,” Carter said. “Any day that we’re discussing immigration here, having a debate on the floor or in committee and capturing the news media cycle on it, is a day that we’re not fixing the calamity of Obamacare.”