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Van Hollen: Boehner will be ‘pressured’ to allow immigration vote

“I fear that you’ll still get an overwhelming number of House Republicans voting against it, but since we’ll have enough Democrats in the House combined with some Republicans, hopefully we can ultimately get it through,” he added. 

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Van Hollen’s comments come as a Senate bipartisan group, which unveiled a framework for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws, works to finalize the details for their proposal. Sources say the plan, which would include a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, increased order security and programs for guest workers and high-skilled immigrants, could come by April.

The plan, in particular provisions to grant legal status to the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country, could face a tough fight from conservative lawmakers. 

A bipartisan House group is also working on a separate framework for immigration reform. The Washington Post reported that the GOP members of the group met with Boehner last week to discuss when they should move ahead with their proposals. 

Boehner has previously said immigration would be a top priority in the House after lawmakers addressed budget and deficit issues. The Speaker, though, has said that immigration reform efforts should begin in the Senate.

Van Hollen on Tuesday also defended the House Democratic budget plan, saying it offered a more balanced approach to reining in the deficit than competing proposals. 

The ranking member on the House Budget committee, unveiled the plan on Monday. It includes $1.2 trillion in new taxes and $200 billion in additional stimulus spending. 

“If you take in the two year period of deficit reduction we’ve been engaged in, this includes the $1.5 trillion in cuts, if you look at everything that we’ve done, we actually have a higher ratio of cuts to revenue and we have a higher cuts to revenue than the Simpson-Bowles bipartisan commission did,” he said. “We believe when you take everything in, we have a much more balanced approach as measured by that bipartisan yardstick.”

Van Hollen also addressed the Republican National Committee’s report Monday calling for “drastic changes” to the GOP if the party hoped to remain competitive in future election.

“With the exception of immigration reform, I didn’t hear any new ideas coming out of that assessment,” said Van Hollen. “If you look at the budget that the House Republicans put forth, its simply what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were talking about in the election- this tickle down notion of economic development.

“It’s good they are recognizing they have a problem,” he said of the RNC, “but they have misdiagnosed the problem.”