Immigration missing from House Republican agenda for June

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House Republicans will take up an extension of highway programs, tax credits and appropriations over the next month, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told lawmakers in a Friday memo.

Conspicuously missing from the memo was any mention of an immigration bill.

{mosads}The White House and Democrats have pressed Republicans in the House to move on immigration reform, but GOP leaders have come under heavy counter pressure from groups opposed to giving any form of “amnesty” to illegal immigrants. 

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has repeatedly said House Republicans don’t trust that President Obama would enforce laws to prevent illegal immigration. 

On healthcare, Cantor hinted at possible action on the GOP ObamaCare replacement but did not offer any specifics of policy or a timeframe for a vote.

Cantor’s memo devoted just two sentences to healthcare: “Our committees continue to work to expose the harmful effects of Obamacare and refine different policies that reduce costs, expand access and provide patients with greater control over their healthcare. We will be discussing these policy options with you in the weeks ahead in anticipation of additional floor action.”

The House will consider the 2015 appropriations bill for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development next week. Cantor said that the 2015 Agriculture and Defense appropriations bills were also slated for legislative action in June. 

Three House 2015 appropriations bills funding military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the legislative branch and the Departments of Justice and Commerce have already been passed. The Senate has yet to act on any 2015 appropriations bills.

In addition to appropriations, Cantor said the House would consider three individual tax credit extensions. The measures would make permanent the Small Business Expensing credit, the S-Corps built-in gains credit and the charitable deductions credit. 

Across the Capitol, the Senate failed to move a comprehensive bill that would extend for two years more than 50 tax credits that expired at the end of 2013. House Republicans have indicated a preference for extending individual credits instead of all of them at once. In May, the chamber passed an extension of the research and development tax credit.

Cantor said the House will also take up bills to water down energy and Commodity Futures Trading Commission financial regulations. The House is expected to vote the week of June 23 on bills to expedite natural gas exports and overhaul the approval process for oil or natural gas pipelines.

A bipartisan agreement last month to reform job training programs is also expected to hit the House floor this month, Cantor said.

Lastly, Cantor said the House would consider a proposal to extend highway programs using savings from winding down Saturday postal deliveries. The Highway Trust Fund is currently projected to run out of funds by August.

Conservative groups, including Heritage Action, blasted the idea as “absurd,” arguing that Congress shouldn’t use savings from the financially troubled Postal Service. The agency has racked up $23 billion in losses over the last two and a half years.

But Cantor said the GOP leaders’ proposal had been misrepresented.

“Unfortunately, there has been a great deal of misinformation circulated about this proposal. I look forward to discussing this with you and clarifying any outstanding questions you may have,” Cantor wrote to House Republicans.

Tags Appropriations Eric Cantor Highway Trust Fund ObamaCare Tax extenders

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