House Speaker John Boehner told reporters a “vast majority” of Republicans want to act on immigration.
After months of being told to hurry up on immigration, it’s time to wait.
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House Republicans said they plan to act, but not in haste, after huddling in a closed-door meeting to discuss how to proceed on an immigration bill.
While the chamber intends to proceed on immigration, Speaker John Boehner reiterated on Thursday that the House would not take up the Senate immigration bill that passed last month with bipartisan support. Several House Republicans offered their perspectives on the issue during their meeting, Boehner said, concluding that “a vast majority” of the conference wants to see a bill passed that addresses border enforcement and the approximately 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
“It’s clear from the conversation we had yesterday that the members do believe—a vast majority of our members do believe—that we have to wrestle with this problem,” Boehner told reporters Thursday. “They also believe that we need to do this step-by-step common sense approach.”
Time, however, is working against the chances that a comprehensive bill—one that combines both tighter border security measures with a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally—survives the legislative process. In August, House and Senate lawmakers will leave Washington for an extended recess to face constituents at town hall meetings in their districts, where many will be pressured to kill the bill. In 2009, a series of lively public meetings nearly derailed President Barack Obama’s health care law, and immigration reform supporters know that their bill could suffer a similar fate.