House group 'on the cusp' of deal on immigration reform

LANSDOWNE, Va. — A bipartisan House group working on immigration is “on the cusp” of an agreement, a senior House Democrat participating in the talks said Friday.

Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were being pragmatic about the issue, and that he was hopeful the Senate would also deliver on legislation soon.

ADVERTISEMENT
“The reality is that we are on the cusp of actually having an opportunity to put forward a bipartisan proposal in the House of Representatives,” Becerra said at a news conference capping off the House Democrats’ annual retreat 


“I am optimistic that the conversations will bear fruit. But make no mistake, there are voices out there that would love nothing more than to destroy ... the progress.” 


Becerra would not say whether the group hoped to release legislation next week in conjunction with President Obama's State of the Union address, which had been a target for the coalition. He said only that conversations are continuing.

The bipartisan House group also includes Reps. John Carter (R-Texas), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), Sam Johnson (R-Texas) and Zoe Lofgren (Calif.).



A Senate group that includes Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has already announced immigration reform principles, and is hoping to release legislation in March.

Obama stressed during his appearance before House Democrats that he was committed to making changes to both immigration and gun control policies.

“Now, is the time,” Obama said Thursday. “I recognize that the politics aren’t always easy.”

House Democratic leaders also stressed at their wrap-up news conference that they would not take their eyes off the economy and deficits while working on guns and immigration.

“That subject permeated our entire discussion,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “The global economic challenges that we all face, and the leadership role of America.”