Can Rubio immigration plan pass the House? Boehner and Cantor tight-lipped

WASHINGTON — The top two Republicans in the House of Representatives praised Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on Tuesday for the immigration overhaul he’s been relentlessly pushing, but stopped short of saying if they could support his ideas.

“I want to applaud Sen. Rubio for his efforts,” Boehner said Tuesday during a Capitol Hill news conference.

But the Ohio Republican wouldn’t directly address whether he supports the proposed pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants that’s part of the framework supported by Rubio and other Republicans and Democrats in the Senate.

Last week, Rubio joined eight senators — including Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona — to unveil a broad framework for an immigration overhaul that includes various proposals, including allowing a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country.

It’s unclear whether such a proposal could make it through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Boehner said lawmakers should continue discussing potential proposals.

“What I want to do is encourage both sides of the Capitol and both parties to continue talking to one another so we can resolve this issue in a bipartisan manner,” Boehner said.

Earlier on Tuesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor struck a similar note during an interview on CBS. “I really admire Sen. Rubio and the kinds of things he’s standing for,” Cantor said.

But like Boehner, he said Congress needs more time to evaluate the proposals.

“I think he’s moving in the right direction,” Rubio said. “We’ve got a lot of issues to weigh around this issue of immigration.”

Follow Alex on Twitter