McCain praises House Republicans' immigration reform principles

Greg Nash

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the co-author of the Senate immigration reform bill, praised House GOP leaders for issuing a set of immigration reform principles that reflect the Senate bill.

“I think they’re fine,” he said. “I will support everything they’re doing and certainly will not take shots from the sidelines.”

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The AFL-CIO, another key member of the coalition pushing for comprehensive reform, said the House GOP principles fall short.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called the principles a “nonstarter” and “fool’s gold” because they would not offer a special path to citizenship for the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants.

“It means they would never get citizenship, never get a green card,” Trumka told The Washington Post. “It’s a joke. It’s a hoax, is what it is.”

McCain said anyone slamming the House GOP principles right out of the gate isn’t serious about getting legislation passed this year.

“I think most people in their right mind should be glad that we’re seeing movement on the House side,” he said. “If you’re going to start carping at them on the first day when they put out principles, then you’re not serious about immigration reform. I say that to the AFL-CIO.”

McCain declined to speculate as to whether legislation that fell short of offering a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants could muster enough Democratic support to pass Congress.

“It depends on what you think is doable and what’s not,” he said. “I’m open to serious consideration of whatever the House of Representatives does.

“Right now I’m just happy that apparently they’re going to move on an issue that they have not for a long time,” he added.

McCain said the 16-day government shutdown that sent the Republican Party’s approval rating plummeting might have had a silver lining because it helped the Speaker, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), regain control of the House GOP conference.

“If Boehner had not gotten control of his conference, this wouldn’t have happened. Maybe there was a silver lining in the shutdown,” he said.