McCain declines to push Boehner to move immigration without GOP majority

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) stopped short of urging Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to abandon his pledge to require majority support from the GOP conference before bringing an immigration bill to the House floor.

Asked whether he believes Boehner should break the Hastert Rule to push immigration reform, McCain demurred.

"I really hesitate to tell Speaker Boehner how he should do this," he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

A reform package passed the Senate earlier this week on a 68-32 vote, but conservatives in the House have said they can't support the bill, because they believe it lacks adequate border security provisions and because they oppose a pathway to citizenship. 

Some believe reform could pass the House with the support of more centrist Republicans and the Democrats in the lower chamber.

Boehner earlier this month, however, vowed to not move forward with legislation unless a majority of House Republicans supported the measure.

McCain though expressed optimism that the House would pass an immigration overhaul, citing the electoral implications of failure for the GOP.

"I really don't feel it's appropriate for me to tell him exactly how he should handle this," he said. "But I think Republicans realize the implications for the future of the Republican Party in America if we don't get this issue behind us."