Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday predicted that lawmakers would pass immigration reform by year’s end.
“I think by the end of the year, we could have a bill,” said Boehner in an interview aired on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“I want to applaud the efforts of the Gang of Eight in the Senate, applaud my colleagues who've worked hard on this. But especially in the area of border security and internal enforcement of this system I'm concerned that it doesn't go far enough,” he said.
The Senate will begin debate on its immigration bill today. That measure crafted by a bipartisan group would create a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country and tighten border security.
Many conservatives, however, say the proposal amounts to amnesty and does too little to stop the flow of workers illegally crossing the border.
A bipartisan House group is also working on its own plan, and Boehner said he expected the bill to pass committee by the end of June.
“Chairman Goodlatte at the Judiciary Committee has been working through these issues with his members. And I'm hopeful that we'll have a product come out of the committee by the end of June,” he said.
Boehner said the House bill would be to “the right” of the Senate proposal, but sidestepped a question about whether it would include a path to citizenship.
“What I've committed to is to continue to work with all parties,” he said. “Some of these questions, let's be honest, they're going to be decided on the House floor. I believe in an open process.”
But Boehner said he was committed to pushing immigration reform.
“We clearly have a problem with illegal immigration,” said Boehner. “We got a problem with border security and our ability to enforce the law today.”
“When you start to look at trying to address all of that, it's a big challenge.”