With 17 days left to go in this year’s legislative calendar, Politico has jumped to the conclusion that there’s not enough time to pass immigration reform, and House Republicans are actually thinking about cancelling session dates in order to avoid doing their job.
Today, however, the Office of Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (NY) has released a press statement on critical legislation for the fall agenda, including job creation, a farm bill, and—comprehensive immigration reform.
Below, from the press release, check out the reasons listed for passing immigration reform and some of the GOP quotes that have been spoken in favor of it. A majority of Americans agree that we need immigration reform with a path to citizenship, and we have the votes in the House to pass it. So why, then, are Speaker Boehner and House Republicans still refusing to take action?
COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM
In July, the Senate passed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill, but House Republican leadership refuses to bring forward similar legislation. This legislation would strengthen border security, create a pathway to citizenship, and boost our economy.
- The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the Senate bill would reduce the deficit by $843 billion over the next two decades [Congressional Budget Office, 7/3/13]
- A Fox News poll showed that 76% of Americans think it’s important to pass major immigration reform legislation this year, with 74% in favor of “finding a way for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country to remain — and eventually become citizens — if they meet certain requirements” [Fox News, 6/13/13]
- H.R. 15, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, is cosponsored by 187 House Democrats, with a growing number of Republicans supporting efforts to move forward with immigration reform legislation:
Congressman Jeff Denham (R-CA): “We can’t afford any more delays. … I support an earned path to citizenship to allow those who want to become citizens to demonstrate a commitment to our country, learn English, pay fines and back taxes and pass background checks.” [CNN, 10/27/13]
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL): “It’s important to keep the conversation going in trying to fix the broken immigration system. I favor any approach that will help us move the negotiations forward,” [The Hill, 10/29/13]
Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA): “I believe that we have a window here between now and the end of the year and that this is a priority. … We must pass immigration reform. It’s a priority for Republicans, for Democrats. There’s a recognition that it’s important to America. It’s important to our economy. America has long been the land of immigrants.” [POLITICO, 10/5/13]
Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ): “I’d like to see a single pathway to citizenship for everyone, that no one would be blocked from, unless they do something criminal…and I’d like to make sure that we have clear border security…And, of course, I’d like to see the whole immigration code simplified and rewritten so that somebody besides God could understand it … I believe the issue will come to the floor and I support bringing it to the floor,” [Arizona Republic, 10/26/13]
Congressman Joe Heck (R-NV): “There is a clear, bipartisan consensus among House members that immigration reform is the right thing to do both for people in this country and for our economy … There are bills that have passed Committee that could be brought to the floor next week, but the House Republican leadership may punt the issue until 2014 for political reasons. That’s very disappointing.” [Heck.House.gov, 10/25/13]
Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA): “There are plenty of bipartisan efforts underway and in discussion between members on both sides of the aisle to try and address what is broken about our immigration system. The committees are still working on this issue, and I expect us to move forward this year in trying to address reform and what is broken about our system.” [House Floor, 10/23/13]
Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL): “I would like to get [immigration reform] done this year.” [NBC Latino, 9/28/13]