Reid: House leadership won’t allow conference on immigration

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidShutdown risk grows over Flint Overnight Finance: Four days left to avert shutdown | Conservative group bucks spending bill | Lawmakers play catch-up on smartphone banking Reid blasts GOP senator over Flint 'hostage' comments MORE (D-Nev.) expressed little optimism that any piecemeal immigration measures passed in the House will make their way to a conference committee with the Senate.

His comments on a Nevada radio station Friday seem to pour cold water on hope Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerOvernight Tech: Tech pushes for debate spotlight | Disney may bid for Twitter | Dem seeks Yahoo probe Saudis hire lobbyists amid 9/11 fight Consumer bureau remains partisan target after Wells Fargo settlement MORE (D-N.Y.) — a member of the Gang of Eight — expressed earlier in the week for merging the Senate’s comprehensive bill with any House proposals.  

“I’m afraid even though they passed these things piecemeal, they won’t allow their members to go to conference,” Reid said in a KNPR interview.  

Reid noted that both chambers approved competing budgets earlier in the year and still haven’t merged the two. He said Republicans are scared to debate their proposals in public. 

“If we go to conference, we will win,” he said. “In a public debate, it is easy. We would win that easy.”

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In a CNN interview on Wednesday, Schumer said he is fine with the House’s plan to advance a number of small bills and eventually merge them with the Senate and was optimistic it could happen. 

“Well, we would much prefer a big, comprehensive bill, but any way that the House can get there is OK by us,” Schumer said. “I actually am optimistic that we will get this done.”

Reid said anyone who thinks a piecemeal approach will work is living in a “dreamland.” He said Congress has been trying to do that for years with little success. 

“You can’t fix a little piece here and come back and try to do something else because it is like a puzzle ... you have to do the whole puzzle and we’ve got a puzzle here we’ve got to put together,” he said. 

Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerRepublican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare The disorderly order of presidential succession MORE (R-Ohio) has promised to only bring up any immigration bill or move it to a conference committee if a majority of Republicans support it. 

On Friday, Reid gave little incentive for Republicans to negotiate a bill through conference. 

“If he wants to pass something and send it over to the Senate we will take a look at it because what we will do is just go to conference and just do our bill anyway,” Reid said.