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'Hastert Rule' Worries Hispanic Caucus---Roll Call

'Hastert Rule' Worries Hispanic Caucus---Roll Call

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Published by: vomeditor on Jun 25, 2013
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06/25/2013

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By David Harrison and Emma DumainRoll Call Staff June 19, 2013, 9:03 p.m.Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus emerged from a meeting withSpeaker John A. Boehner on Wednesday afternoon sticking to their hope thatthe House could pass a comprehensive immigration bill.But Boehner's statement Tuesday that he would only bring a bill to the floorthat has the support of the majority of the Republican Conference hoveredover the meeting. And despite the CHC members' expression of optimism, itwas clear the path to a comprehensive House bill had become more delicate."I felt that it was a frank discussion that needed to be had," said Rep. RaúlM. Grijalva, D-Ariz., a member of the CHC. "He reiterated that this issomething that is going to be a job ahead."Asked whether the Ohio Republican's insistence on sticking to the "Hastertrule" made that job more difficult, Grijalva answered bluntly: "Yes.""Like we told the speaker, we're willing to help, we're willing to continue totalk, but the path to legalization, to us, is essential," he said. "We'vecompromised a lot on security. We've compromised a lot on length of time.We've compromised on other areas in there, and it's getting to the pointwhere you go from, you know, ensuring security to a spirit of meanness, andwe're not gonna go there."Grijalva pointed to a recent House floor vote on an amendment offered byRep. Steve King, R-Iowa, as an example of the roadblocks ahead forsecuring Democratic interests in a comprehensive immigration overhaul.King's amendment to the fiscal 2014 Homeland Security appropriations bill,which passed, would block implementation of a 2012 Obama administrationpolicy halting deportation of young undocumented immigrants brought to thecountry as children.
 
 The CHC, in a statement issued after the meeting with the speaker, echoedGrijalva's comments: It made clear it would not accept anything that did notgrant "a pathway to earned citizenship that is tough but fair" to most of the11 million undocumented immigrants in the country."It's going to have to include very strong border security to bring some of their people in, just as it's going to have to include on our side thereasonable understanding that 11 million or more of the men and womenwho produce most of the food we consume and do most of the hard labor inthis nation are part of the solution," said Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., a memberof the CHC.Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill., left the meeting resigned to the Hastert rule."I left that meeting understanding that there needs to be a majority of Republicans and a majority of Democrats," the longtime champion of animmigration overhaul said. "We need to come together to do that so that thewill of the House of Representatives can be done."A bipartisan group of House members has been working for months on acomprehensive bill granting a path to citizenship for many of the 11 millionpeople living in the country illegally while also tightening border security.Members of the group say they have wrapped up their work but have yet tointroduce it.Boehner has backed the group's effort but has not said he would support thebill. He and other House leaders have said, though, they were committed toregular order, meaning any legislation would first go through committee.Incremental immigration bills sponsored by House Judiciary CommitteeRepublicans are already moving through markup, despite opposition fromDemocrats. Whether the bipartisan comprehensive bill will make it through asimilar process remains to be seen."If we can pass it through committee and if we get it moving, then I think itwill go to the floor," said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., a member of theworking group. "And if it doesn't, it doesn't. The challenge is can we get thevotes."Getting a majority of House Republicans to back such a bill has always beena long shot. But immigration advocates had hoped to pressure Boehner intoputting the legislation on the floor and passing it with the support of amajority of Democrats and a few more moderate Republicans.If the House comprehensive bill fell apart, advocates were hoping to forceBoehner to bring up a similar Senate bill (S 744), now pending on the floor inthat chamber.Boehner's embrace of the Hastert rule appears to close that alternative. Andif he were to reconsider his approach, he's sure to face a revolt that couldthreaten his political future. Some of GOP leadership's most vocalantagonists, among them King, are taking

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