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 TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown 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 DenhamTrump attacks Dems on farm bill House Republicans push for vote on Violence Against Women Act Steyer group launching 0,000 digital ad campaign targeting millennials MORE (R-Calif.), Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloDems see Kavanaugh saga as playing to their advantage GOP, White House start playing midterm blame game The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Cuomo wins and Manafort plea deal MORE (R-Fla.), Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulHillicon Valley: Manafort to cooperate with Mueller probe | North Korea blasts US over cyber complaint | Lawmakers grill Google over China censorship | Bezos to reveal HQ2 location by year's end Overnight Defense: Details on defense spending bill | NATO chief dismisses talk of renaming HQ for McCain | North Korea warns US over cyber allegations Bipartisan House group presses Google over China censorship MORE (R-Texas) and Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteJordan wants Rosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee House Judiciary chair threatens subpoena if DOJ doesn’t supply McCabe memos by Tuesday Rosenstein report gives GOP new ammo against DOJ 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 HiceHouse Freedom Caucus roiled by Trump's attacks on Mark Sanford Conservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill House conservatives introduce resolution calling for second special counsel MORE (R-Ga.). 

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Dems fight to protect Mueller amid Rosenstein rumors Republicans threaten to subpoena Nellie Ohr 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 CruzTrump changes mean only wealthy immigrants may apply, says critic The Hill's Morning Report — Ford, Kavanaugh to testify Thursday as another accuser comes forward Viral video shows O’Rourke air-drumming to the Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’ after Cruz debate 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