California Republican Rep. Jeff Denham said he would favor the comprehensive immigration reform deal passed by the Senate.
The Modesto Bee reports that at a meeting with constituents, community organizers and religious leaders in Modesto, Denham spoke out in favor of the bill.
“The Senate bill won’t get a vote in the House, and it’s something that could have helped this community,” he said. “I am frustrated. I thought we’d get this done before the August work period. I think the Senate made tremendous progress. It was done bipartisan and I thought that would be enough to get the House moving forward.”
Many House Republicans have virulently spoken out against a comprehensive approach to immigration reform, calling instead for a piecemeal approach.
“I don’t know I have a good answer,” Denham told someone who asked about why the House was unable to pass comprehensive reform. “It probably has a lot more to do with politics than policy.”
The Senate passed a bill in June that strengthened border security and also provided for a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants already in the country. House leadership has said they will not take up the Senate bill, but will work their way toward their own approach to reform. Such work has not yet happened, however, and the House left for a five week recess without any kind of reform.
Denham said he was becoming less optimistic that something would get passed.
“The only reason I’m less optimistic is I’ve heard these timelines come out several different times now,” he said. “This was supposed to be ready in March. We were supposed to be ahead of the Senate because we had our comprehensive bill that has been bipartisan for several terms … but then wasn’t introduced.”
In another turn of events, New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, one of the authors of the comprehensive Gang of Eight bill said earlier this week that he would be all right with a piecemeal approach to reform.