The House will quickly begin considering broader immigration legislation in weeks ahead even as Republicans are likely to remain mired in conflict with President Obama over a far-reaching executive action that extended amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, Speaker John Boehner announced to members at a closed-door meeting this morning.
“We’re going to get an immigration bill moving pretty quickly,” one GOP lawmaker told Breitbart News.
Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) said the outlines of the specific legislation that will be considered are still unclear, but he said he expects in time that Boehner will bring bills addressing border security, visa reform, aliens brought to the U.S. illegally as children and “what do you do with the 12 million who are here illegally.”
“I’m not sure that there’s a bill. He’s been pretty adamant that our immigration solution be a step-by-step approach. I think there will be a border security bill but I don’t think we’ll take what the last Congress did wholesale, I think this Congress will work its will,” Schock said.
“Certainly, you have to do visas because 40 percent of those living here illegally came on a legal visa and have overstayed their visa, so we need an improved visa enforcement program. And then, you gotta deal with the kids, and then you gotta answer the question what do you do with the 12 million who are here illegally. So I think those step-by-step bills are what he outlined right before the last election that was the goal for the House. And I think now that we have a Senate that will work with us, that’s the plan,” Schock said.
A GOP aide said Boehner only spoke in conference about moving forward on border security legislation, not other topics of immigration reform. A second GOP aide, to GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, said “Border security is a top priority for this Congress.”
A second GOP aide, to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, said “border security is a top priority for this Congress.”
The push, previously suggested by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul to reporters but formally announced by Boehner to lawmakers for the first time this morning, marks a contrast with Boehner’s warnings to Obama about the impact a broad executive action would have on chances for legislative action on the issue in the 114th Congress.
“If he acts unilaterally on his own outside of his authority he will poison the well and there will be no chance for immigration reform moving in this Congress. It’s as simple as that,” Boehner told reporters Nov. 6 at his first press conference after the midterm elections.
In the closed-door meeting, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who challenged Boehner in the recent speaker’s election and received three votes, including his own, pressed Boehner on whether upcoming immigration bills would be rushed through the House. Specifically, Gohmert told Boehner he assumed the legislation would not be brought up under regular order.
Boehner asked Gohmert to yield to say that the legislation would be brought up under regular order.
“Mr. Boehner said, ‘this is unlike what we’ve done in the past. You’re going to have plenty of notice. You’re going to know about it, instead of showing up on Tuesday and having to vote on a bill that week,’” according to Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), another member who challenged Boehner in the speaker’s election.
This week the House is considering legislation to block Obama’s executive actions in a spending bill, and the proposal and associated amendments have drawn praise from many Republicans.
“I think they’ve done a good job. We’ve had three listening sessions in conference. We’ve had three conferences to go over this. This is unlike anything I’ve had in my two years’ experience here. So I applaud leadership for educating the conference,” Yoho said.