WASHINGTON – House Republicans are in no hurry to pass immigration reform.
The full House Republican conference held its first confab on the issue Wednesday, following the Senate passage of the comprehensive immigration reform bill before both chambers recessed for the week of July Fourth. Members speaking to the media after said that leaders had not put forth a clear timeline or strategy for moving forward on the issue.
“We don’t want to rush anything,” said House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan. “We want to get it right.”
Congress will recess from August 5 through September 6. When they return in September, the end of the fiscal year will be upon them, and they will have to take up the issue of raising the debt ceiling, a contentious annual fight between Democrats and Republicans.
“There’s no way you’re going to move this ahead of that, in my opinion,” Oklahoma Republican Rep. Tom Cole said after the meeting, when asked if the House might move something before the end of the month.
Cole said Majority Leader Eric Cantor had not set out any particular timeline for the bill.
“The timeline I think is less a concern than that they do it right,” said Colorado Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, when asked about a schedule.
“Someone asked me if we feel a sense of urgency, and the idea is, we want to keep forward motion, but we don’t feel like we have to pass something in the next few weeks,” said Louisiana Republican Rep. John Fleming.
Getting anything passed in before the August recess was “one hundred percent unlikely,” he said.
A joint statement from the Republican leadership — Speaker of the House John Boehner, Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Homeland Security Committee Chair Michael McCaul and Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte — similarly suggested that they were in no rush.
“Today House Republicans affirmed that rather than take up the flawed legislation rushed through the Senate, House committees will continue their work on a step-by-step, common-sense approach to fixing what has long been a broken system,” they said in the joint statement released after the meeting.