Conservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill

Conservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill
© Greg Nash

Conservatives appear hesitant to get on board with House Republicans' compromise immigration bill despite urging from President TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE on Tuesday to vote in favor of the legislation. 

While the House Freedom Caucus did not take an official position on the bill — introduced by Reps. Jeff DenhamJeffrey (Jeff) John DenhamHouse GOP leaders fail to find compromise immigration fix GOP rep denied access to facility housing immigrant kids Dem, GOP groups prepare spending blitz for midterms MORE (R-Calif.), Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloMueller indictments: Congressional candidate asked Russian operatives for info on opponent Lawmakers discuss efforts to boost Latino entrepreneurship On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump suggests China is easing pressure on North Korea because of trade fight | Mulvaney taps top aide as No. 2 at consumer bureau | House Republican to offer bill to curtail Trump's trade powers MORE (R-Fla.), Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulA change is coming to US-Mexico relations Hillicon Valley: Justices uphold Trump travel ban | Tech's response | Accused NSA leaker enters guilty plea | Dems press for more info on OPM breach | Senators press Trump to uphold ZTE ban | New hacking threat to satellites Rising concerns over hackers using satellites to target US MORE (R-Texas) and Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteFormer FBI lawyer Lisa Page gets closed-door grilling from House Republicans 5 takeaways from wild hearing with controversial FBI agent GOP lawmaker asks FBI agent about lying to wife over affair MORE (R-Va.) earlier in the day — members of the powerful conservative group expressed concerns about the legislation as they left their meeting Tuesday evening. 

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"So, I'm just hearing about it, I'm not in favor of amnesty but I'm about to go start checking it out for myself," said Rep. Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceHouse Freedom Caucus roiled by Trump's attacks on Mark Sanford Conservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill House conservatives introduce resolution calling for second special counsel MORE (R-Ga.). 

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsFive GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page gets closed-door grilling from House Republicans Conservatives moving to impeach Rosenstein soon: report MORE (R-N.C.) said he planned to talk to leadership Tuesday evening about where his members stand.

"You know I think everybody is appreciative of the process, but yet there is still a little bit of work to be done in terms of trying to make sure that this bill actually represents their constituency," he told reporters. 

Meadows, who hasn't stated how he plans to vote on the compromise bill, noted what Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Memo: Trump leaves chaos in his wake in UK Beto O'Rourke is dominating Ted Cruz in enthusiasm and fundraising — but he's still headed for defeat GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE MORE (R-Texas) has said. Cruz said it would be "difficult to think of a path better designed to keep 3 to 5 million conservatives home in November than to pass a big amnesty plan right before the election"; his comments have led several conservatives to believe the legislation can't pass the upper chamber.  

"Well, the fine senator is in a different chamber than ours, and I'm confident that, based on that, that means that if we pass this particular bill it wouldn't get support in the other chamber," Meadows said. "And so I think that that is something that's weighing on a number of our members — you know why pass a bill if it's not going to become law and it's not going to pass the Senate, especially on one that has so many emotional facets."

While the White House has come out in strong support of the bill, crafted following weeks of negotiations between leadership, centrists and top conservatives, Meadows said members are keeping midterm elections in mind while deciding how they will vote on the measure. 

"I think the president obviously is a strong advocate for anything on immigration and at the same time all of us recognize that we've got to go back home and campaign in our districts," he said. "And where the president may have a certain approval rating, ours is many times dictated more on our votes than it is an overall appeal. And so I think everybody looks at trying to represent their districts in the best way that they can. And I don't know that there is such a compelling case to vote for this bill, only because they're not optimistic that it will become law."

House leadership aims to put both the compromise bill and a separate conservative-backed bill introduced by Goodlatte and McCaul on the floor Thursday