Conservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill

Conservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill
© Greg Nash

Conservatives appear hesitant to get on board with House Republicans' compromise immigration bill despite urging from President TrumpDonald John TrumpHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Countdown clock is on for Mueller conclusions Omar: White supremacist attacks are rising because Trump publicly says 'Islam hates us' MORE on Tuesday to vote in favor of the legislation. 

While the House Freedom Caucus did not take an official position on the bill — introduced by Reps. Jeff DenhamJeffrey (Jeff) John DenhamCrazy California an outlier? No, we are the canary in the coal mine Polling editor says news outlets should be more cautious calling elections Rep. Valadao officially concedes in California race MORE (R-Calif.), Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloEx-GOP lawmaker joins marijuana trade group Dems think they're beating Trump in emergency declaration battle Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign MORE (R-Fla.), Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems aim to end anti-Semitism controversy with vote today Sixteen years later, let's finally heed the call of the 9/11 Commission  GOP lawmakers urge State Dept. to label cartels as terrorist organizations MORE (R-Texas) and Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteTop Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview It’s time for Congress to pass an anti-cruelty statute DOJ opinion will help protect kids from dangers of online gambling MORE (R-Va.) earlier in the day — members of the powerful conservative group expressed concerns about the legislation as they left their meeting Tuesday evening. 

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"So, I'm just hearing about it, I'm not in favor of amnesty but I'm about to go start checking it out for myself," said Rep. Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceJordan jokes that sport coats inhibit him during heated hearings House lawmakers clash over GOP allegations Dems coached Cohen GOP lawmaker asks Cohen to reveal any 'cooperation' with Dems on congressional testimony MORE (R-Ga.). 

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsConservatives wage assault on Mueller report Trump, Congress brace for Mueller findings CNN's Toobin: 'Swirl of suspicion' about more indictments not justified MORE (R-N.C.) said he planned to talk to leadership Tuesday evening about where his members stand.

"You know I think everybody is appreciative of the process, but yet there is still a little bit of work to be done in terms of trying to make sure that this bill actually represents their constituency," he told reporters. 

Meadows, who hasn't stated how he plans to vote on the compromise bill, noted what Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCountdown clock is on for Mueller conclusions Ex-Clinton aide: Dems should make 2020 'about integrity' Cruz: House 'fully intends' to impeach Trump MORE (R-Texas) has said. Cruz said it would be "difficult to think of a path better designed to keep 3 to 5 million conservatives home in November than to pass a big amnesty plan right before the election"; his comments have led several conservatives to believe the legislation can't pass the upper chamber.  

"Well, the fine senator is in a different chamber than ours, and I'm confident that, based on that, that means that if we pass this particular bill it wouldn't get support in the other chamber," Meadows said. "And so I think that that is something that's weighing on a number of our members — you know why pass a bill if it's not going to become law and it's not going to pass the Senate, especially on one that has so many emotional facets."

While the White House has come out in strong support of the bill, crafted following weeks of negotiations between leadership, centrists and top conservatives, Meadows said members are keeping midterm elections in mind while deciding how they will vote on the measure. 

"I think the president obviously is a strong advocate for anything on immigration and at the same time all of us recognize that we've got to go back home and campaign in our districts," he said. "And where the president may have a certain approval rating, ours is many times dictated more on our votes than it is an overall appeal. And so I think everybody looks at trying to represent their districts in the best way that they can. And I don't know that there is such a compelling case to vote for this bill, only because they're not optimistic that it will become law."

House leadership aims to put both the compromise bill and a separate conservative-backed bill introduced by Goodlatte and McCaul on the floor Thursday