House bipartisan effort on immigration underway, with input from Paul Ryan
January 28th, 2013
07:39 PM ET
1 year ago

House bipartisan effort on immigration underway, with input from Paul Ryan

Washington (CNN) – While much of the attention focused on the Senate's "Gang of Eight" bipartisan framework for overhauling immigration policy, a similar effort has been going on under the radar in the House to draft a bipartisan plan.

A group of House Republicans and Democrats have worked for weeks behind the scenes to put together their own proposal, according to aides briefed on the discussions.

Former GOP 2012 vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, while not formally part of the group, is supporting the effort, and is encouraging fellow members to move forward with major immigration reform legislation this year.

Two senior House Democratic sources briefed on the effort tell CNN the group was working to release some sort of outline possibly as early as this week, but concede "they are not as far along as the Senate."

Like the Senate framework released Monday, the House plan will include a path to citizenship, but details of how that will work are still being discussed.

In a speech last week, House Speaker John Boehner signaled the House would act.

"It's time to deal with it. I said it the day after the election, I meant it. We're going to have to deal with it," Boehner said.

Boehner also alluded to the private bipartisan discussions in the House, not giving any details, but saying the group was "in my view the right group of members."

He also added that "my theory was if these folks can work this out, it would be a big step in the right direction."

After the Senate plan was revealed, Boehner's spokesman released a brief statement.

It did not take a position, but pointed out that Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who is popular with conservatives, was part of the group drafting the plan.

"The speaker welcomes the work of leaders like Sen. Rubio on this issue, and is looking forward to learning more about the proposal in the coming days," said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.

Two members who have been involved in bipartisan talks on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform for several years – Illinois Democratic Rep Luis Gutierrez, and Florida GOP Rep Mario Diaz Balart, appeared on CNN's Starting point on Monday.

They expressed optimism that the political climate was better for a bill to pass Congress this year.

Diaz-Balart, said the group has been working "quietly," and has worked through many of the major issues.

"We've seen the speaker has said he wants to get it done. We've seen the minority leader says they want to get it done. Here's the good news. A group of us have been ready for years. We've worked out most of the complicated details. The devil is in the details. We've dealt with that devil. Now it's an issue of filing legislation and hopefully get it passed," Diaz-Balart said.

Ryan, while not a member of the bipartisan House group, has had individual conversations with key members, including Gutierrez and Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador, a conservative who is a former immigration lawyer.

"He decided coming off of the election, the prospects to move a reform proposal are better than they have been," an aide to Ryan told CNN.

Ryan co-sponsored comprehensive immigration bills in the past with Gutierrez and then-Rep Jeff Flake, and worked on the issue as a Senate aide.

"Paul's not picking up this issue cold," his aide told CNN. "He has ideas and ways for members to avoid the traps that have brought down reform proposals in the past."

In an interview with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday, Ryan said he was still reviewing the details of the Senate plan.

But he noted that he had already endorsed Rubio's earlier immigration proposal and said, "I'm also working with a group of Democrats and Republicans in the House in a similar vein."

But Ryan warned that moving one comprehensive bill through Congress could be problematic.

"When you have a big comprehensive bill, too many members have too many problems with too many various provisions and it collapses under its own weight," he said.

Instead, Ryan suggested breaking the issue up into a series of bills, telling the Journal Sentinel.

"So let's take this bill in, five pieces let's say, you'll have five different vote coalitions getting it through and passing it at the end of the day," he said.

But Ryan cautioned that if it was done in pieces both sides would have to commit to bringing up all elements.

Another member of the House bipartisan immigration group, Texas Republican Rep John Carter, told the Fort Worth Star Telegram that it is "90 percent there" on a plan.

"We address all categories," Carter told the paper in an interview. "Border security and all the things that go to the people who are here illegally. I believe we've solved the problem of those concerned with the rule of law," meaning those opposed to amnesty, "but we've done it with compassion."

But Labrador signaled that he wasn't sold on the Senate version released Monday, and zeroed in on the piece that many House conservatives have said is a problem in the debate in both chambers of Congress.

"A special pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants is inconsistent with our shared belief in respect for the law," the Idaho Republican said in a statement.

"We cannot expect others to truly respect our laws if we do not have a consistent set of principles, so I will evaluate the proposed "tough but fair" provision regarding citizenship," Labrador said.


Filed under: House • Immigration • Paul Ryan
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Anything with Paul Ryan's name on it means that working Americans are going to get cheated out of something!

    January 28, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  2. John

    The GOP Is making Paul Ryan out to be a Saint ,but really all he Is a LAIR. That why people call him Lying Ryan.

    January 28, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  3. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    Oh, the gop is going to start doing is job after four years of obstruction and they want credit for obamas lead on the issue ????

    January 28, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  4. Name lynn

    The latinos have rights just like the united states of america, the latinos wants a better chance in life let them. they want to work an support their families just like the people does. Talk talk

    January 28, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    Count on Obama to butt into that effort, and dictate to the country, what will be. His way or the highway........as usual.

    January 28, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  6. rs

    Mr. Ryan will simply have to get over the people he calls: "the takers". Meanwhile has anyone figured out the TEA Party might be a problem here?

    January 28, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  7. Brent

    My message to my hispanic brothers and sisters is not to forget who stood for you and who stood against you before the current push of oppurtunism. Don't be fooled by the retoric of those who are reactionary.

    January 28, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  8. Liz the First

    I hope Latinos and other minorities realize this doesn't mean repugs are going to start liking them any better, it just means they want their votes so they can get elected again and continue their anti-American policies.

    January 28, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  9. Yonni

    Poster boy is showing up these days too much already. I thought we rejected his (Ayn Rand) philosophy when we voted for the other guy. He could have give us a break for a year or so, then we may forget the lies he told.

    January 28, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Paul Ryan is a snake and can never be trusted and neither can the other GOP members because they are all in "lock step" with Ryans Budget Plan. Hispanics aren't dogs that you give a bone and they instantly become lap dogs, it ain't gonna happen.

    January 28, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  11. Bob

    Ryan is becoming as annoying and boring as fired "pundit", Palin used to be.

    January 28, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  12. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem with breaking it into many bills is that one could get bogged down in a committee or either house of Congress. There is something to be said for doing it big. My question is why is Ryan involved since he is money and doesn't care about people. Look at the budget he has proposed.

    January 28, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  13. Randy, San Francisco

    Speaker Boehner will have his hands full holding his caucus together. Hope he can convince Tea Party and anti-immigrant zealots to vote for any compromise.

    January 28, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  14. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Crawl back into the Koch Bros. pocket loser!

    January 28, 2013 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  15. Deborah Sundes

    You are making yourself look bad. No one has to do that for you!

    January 28, 2013 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  16. Tom

    I have been paying into Social Security for over 38 years. Starting to look at what I need to do personally to prepare for my future. If I couldn't afford to buy something, I didn't buy it. When we wanted kids, if we couldn't afford it, we waited.

    We now have a large number of people that have kids just to get more welfare.

    Now you want to assimilate over 11 million more people that the majority of which can't afford to live day to day! No insurance, no life savings, never paid a dime into Social Security!

    Well WE CAN'T AFFORD IT!

    I am tired of paying for handouts!

    January 28, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  17. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    GOP? – You mean the rule of law that allows a woman to chose what she does with her own body that you try and subvert at every term?

    Bloody hypocrites!

    January 28, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  18. CBP

    How the political landscape can force politicians to work on immigration policy. President Obama put forth his ideas and now a group of Senators and a group of Representatives are finally working in a bipartisan manner to put forth immigration legislation.

    This seems to depend upon securing the borders. I wonder just how they plan to do this. I hope we are not building a fence or wall.. Will it resemble the Berlin Wall? Do you remember how hard we worked to get that wall taken down? Remember the challenge by Ronald Reagan?

    January 28, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  19. Martha in CF

    Paul Ryan must have forgotten that him and Romney lost the election. He and his redumblican party must realize, I would think, that they need to rethink their positions on issues. They are destroying their party all on their own!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 28, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  20. roro

    The real problem here is that although the Republicans are now making noise about immigration reform, it's only because of the results of the recent election. They have not changed their feelings, their minds, or their policies – just their rhetoric. They've been forced to say what they really don't believe or even want. They are what I call members of NATO – No Action, Talk Only.

    January 28, 2013 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  21. anonoymous

    So if Mr Ryan tries to run in 2016 he can say he's apart of the effort to reform immigration. I guess the gop thinks that we havent been listening. Oh the hate for minorities is still there they're just trying to figure out how to get our vote.

    January 29, 2013 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  22. McCain-in-4

    Still stuck on the legal – illegal dichotomy I see. That belief is looking more like an excuse not to pass a guest worker program and let these people self deport with dignity. It cost how many thousands of $$$s for illegal immigrants to pass into this country (at great risk) and now some senators & representatives think these same people have the resources to export themselves and their children?

    January 29, 2013 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  23. Marie MD

    This is too funny. The altar boy who couldn't carry his own state against the President continues to be the mouth of the rethugs?
    Anyone see the comedy of this? Go pump some iron and please NO MORE pictures!

    January 29, 2013 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  24. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    The gop failure lyin Ryan will fail just like he did with romney the tax cheat and his four time loser partner,heading down the toilet with the rest of the gop conservative gop teaparty trash in 2014 mid terms !!!!

    January 29, 2013 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  25. Just a thought

    Hey Everybody!.....Watch this GOP slide of hand! They are going to do their level best to fool the hispanics into thinking the "stupid party" actually cares about them. LOL.... If black people weren't already citizens, the GOP would be well on their way to making sure no minority has an opportunity to succeed in america.

    January 29, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
1 2