The House could come up with a bill to overhaul the country’s immigration system by August, according to the House’s No. 4 Republican.
“I believe there is a path that we get a bill on the floor by August,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the Republican conference chairwoman, told The Spokesman-Review last week.
An August deadline would resolve the troubled issue months before November’s midterm elections, where the GOP is looking to grow its advantage in the House and pick up enough seats to take over the Senate.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has pushed for a bill and even mocked members of his party who have been opposed to the effort, yet so far, the push has been unsuccessful.
In recent weeks, Boehner reportedly told financial backers that he was “hell-bent” on passing reform this year.
More recently, he told constituents in Ohio that “the appetite amongst my colleagues for doing this is not real good.”
“Here’s the attitude, ‘Ohhh, don’t make me do this. Ohhh, this is too hard,’ ” he added.
House leadership has resisted moving forward with a comprehensive piece of legislation, as the Senate did last year. Instead, the lawmakers have favored a piecemeal approach to tackle the issues separately.
Conservative members of the House have been reluctant to support the effort, which, so far, has made legislation impossible.
Another stumbling block has been President Obama. Republicans’ mistrust of the president has made them skeptical that the administration will follow through with any of its commitments to beef up border security and other protections as part of an immigration reform package, which has kept the effort in neutral.
McMorris Rodgers indicated an opposition to allowing people who came into the country illegally to be forgiven.
“We’re going to have to push that this is a legal status, not amnesty,” she said.
In the same remarks kicking off her reelection bid, the five-term Washingtonian said ObamaCare was likely on the books for good.
“We need to look at reforming the exchanges,” she said, referring to the online marketplaces where people can buy insurance. That’s a departure from the oft-repeated Republican line that the law must be repealed in full.
In the last few years, the House has voted to repeal or defund part or all of the law 54 times.