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Van Hollen: House odds for immigration bill down to ’50-50’

In an interview on CNBC, Van Hollen said Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) decision to only push legislation that had the support of a majority of the GOP conference made the fight to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws much harder.

"That will make it more difficult so I've taken the odds of immigration reform from what I thought was 70 percent when the Senate bill had a lot of momentum, now I would say it's 50-50," Van Hollen said.

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Van Hollen also said the House could pass immigration reform today if Boehner took up the Senate bill passed last month.

"We could in the House pass the bipartisan plan that came out of the Senate today if the Speaker were willing to put that up for a vote," Van Hollen said. "There is a majority to get that done. “Unfortunately he has taken the position that, at least so far, that he is only going to take up immigration reform in the House if it has, not a majority of the full House, but a majority of the Republicans in the House, and that's a political decision, not a policy decision."

Boehner has said the Senate bill is dead on arrival in the House.

Van Hollen's comments came a day after House Republicans held a closed-door meeting to discuss the path forward on immigration reform. In the meeting, Boehner and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told their House colleagues that not passing immigration reform would put their conference "in a much weaker position," urging them to act.

Conservative House lawmakers oppose efforts to create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country and want more of a focus on border security.