GOP senator: Immigration reform could still happen in 2014

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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Don’t count immigration reform out just yet for 2014.

“Tax reform [is something I] certainly want to see, but I just cannot see enough agreement to move ahead there. I think it is more likely we could still get immigration reform,” a Republican senator said Wednesday during a background briefing for Capitol Hill reporters. “I think most people saw what happened in the House when the Republicans laid out their principles — those were good principles, those were things that I think the Senate Democrats could have worked with, the president could have worked with. So we were all quite excited about that.”

The senator, who asked not to be identified by name, said he was optimistic even in the face of House Speaker John Boehner’s comments from early February discounting the chances of an immigration bill — or a series of bills — passing the House this year to secure the border and provide a pathway to regularization for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.

“I think most of us recognized that was likely in connection with trying to drum up votes on the debt ceiling increase. But when he couldn’t get Republican votes there, then maybe — hopefully — that’s a reason to say alright we’re going to go back and try to push immigration reform,” the senator said, referring to Boehner’s to failure to unite his caucus in order to get something tangible in return for another debt ceiling increase. “I am more hopeful on that than some of the other big items just because I think there are enough Republicans who — although there is worry about it splitting the party at a time that we shouldn’t — there is still recognition that we have a better chance of getting it this year than we do next year or the year after certainly. ”

“And we as a party, politically, really need it by 2016,” the senator added. “Most of us I think recognize to put all your eggs in the Obamacare basket politically is a little dangerous… You got to have some other issues.”

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