President Barack Obama told Senate Democrats that he believes House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will pass immigration reform in the House that will ultimately lead to a broader and more comprehensive bill once the House conferences with the Senate.
The Hill reports that Senate Democrats who met with Obama this week said Obama “believes Republicans will feel politically vulnerable if they fail to advance the issue.” Obama reportedly expects the various “piecemeal” bills the House will consider, including those that will grant a pathway to citizenship to illegal immigrants in the nation, “will add up to a series of reforms that can then be negotiated with the Senate.”
“He predicted the House would pass something this year,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), who attended the meeting, according to The Hill. “He said we’re then all going to have a challenging conversation… He said it was more likely than not the House would do something.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Obama was “cautiously optimistic” about immigration reform.
Boehner last year declared that immigration reform is “absolutely not” dead this Congress, and Obama expressed regret that he could not get his biggest priority passed last year. House Republican leaders are drafting a series of “immigration principles,” which will include a pathway to citizenship provision, under the leadership of Boehner’s adviser Rebecca Tallent. House Republican leaders like Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) reportedly have said that immigration reform will be a priority for Republicans this year.
Obama and Democrats said it would be okay if comprehensive immigration were broken up into pieces so long as all the pieces pass. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) said his “Republican friends” want comprehensive immigration reform, which the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages of working class Americans. Proponents and opponents of amnesty have all said that a pathway to citizenship would prevail in any bill that comes out of conference between the House and the Senate, which is what Obama reportedly predicted.