Rep. Luis GutierrezLuis Vicente GutierrezBiden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic primary fight shifts to South Carolina, Nevada Democrats rally behind incumbents as Lipinski takes liberal fire MORE (D-Ill.), chairman of the Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force, said Saturday that he was ensured that the White House would put a renewed focus on comprehensive immigration reform as his vote on the healthcare bill went from "yes" to "no" to "yes" again.
"I'm not getting an appointment, I'm not getting some special project," Gutierrez said on Fox News, but instead he is getting assurances that the White House will breathe new life into immigration reform -- "to refocus, to give it new energy, to prioritize."
Gutierrez said his shift to "yes" was influenced by bipartisan efforts at immigration reform that have been blessed by the Obama administration.
"Thursday afternoon we saw the blueprint that was issued by Graham and Schumer," Gutierrez said. "The White House embraced it ... there are other steps that are being taken."
"...I think we've got the president's attention again."
However, Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenators preview bill to stop tech giants from prioritizing their own products Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Tim Scott takes in .3 million in third quarter MORE (R-S.C.) tweeted on Friday that passage of the healthcare reform bill would leave bipartisan immigration reform DOA:
"If hc bill goes through this weekend, that will, in my view, pretty much kill any chance of immigration reform passing the Senate this year."
Gutierrez, while saying that the issue of health coverage for illegal immigrants would be dealt with "both within and outside the context of the bill," then stressed that President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaJill Biden campaigns for McAuliffe in Virginia Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Biden administration breaks down climate finance roadmap Pelosi hilariously scolds media for not 'selling' .5T spending bill: 'Do a better job' MORE did not promise that the coverage would be included in the final bill.
"I voted for the bill in the House understanding that the bill would not include undocumented workers," he said.
The congressman called the idea of not letting illegal immigrants purchase coverage from the insurance exchange "kind of silly."
"Isn't that what people always complain about, that undocumenteds don't pay their own way?" Gutierrez said.
"I think as we move to comprehensive immigration reform this issue will become moot."