Reid: Boehner will compromise on immigration reform
December 21st, 2013
03:09 PM ET
12 months ago

Reid: Boehner will compromise on immigration reform

Washington (CNN) - He will cave.

Despite his public statements to the contrary, House Speaker John Boehner will meet with Senate leaders to negotiate comprehensive immigration reform in 2014 - at least, Harry Reid says he will.


In an interview with The Hill, the Senate Majority leader says he thinks the Speaker, emboldened against tea party groups, will take the issue up in conference with the Senate.

“I think that John Boehner will conference with the Senate. Why wouldn’t he? He’ll have a lot of pressure from his members now that the election is getting closer,” Reid said.

Reid, D-Nevada, argues that popular support for an immigration deal will push members of Boehner's caucus toward a deal. Boehner, who recently stood up to more conservative elements of his party in supporting the debt deal, will lead the way, according to Reid.

“Some of his members are in very marginal districts where they need to do something on immigration,” Reid said.

All signs from the Speaker's office, however, still say no. Like other Republicans, Boehner has said he favors a piece-by-piece approach.

"I'll make clear we have no intention ever of going to conference on the Senate bill," he said last month, adding, "I want us to deal with this issue, but I want to deal with it in a common-sense, step-by-step way."

The 1200-page Senate bill includes increased border security and patrolling, as well as a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants in the country illegally.

It is the latter element that has outraged conservatives. Many decried the move as "amnesty," with the backlash so strong that even Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, who authored the Senate bill, moved to support the House's piecemeal approach.

"I think when you try to do anything big in Washington it ends up running into headwinds. Now that's the direction the Senate went. I wanted to influence that process so I got involved in it. But I continue to believe that a series of sequential individual bills is the best way, the ideal way, to reform our immigration system," said Rubio in an interview with CNN anchor Kate Bolduan.

But Reid believes the time is ripe for Boehner to stand up to the conservative elements of his party - and some of the Speaker's recent public statements have convinced Reid that Boehner is ready.

“I was very impressed with his saying, as far as I’m concerned, what was long overdue. The government shutdown, it was being driven by these people he criticized,” said Reid. Boehner accused grassroots conservative groups of "using our members and using the American people for their own goals" at a news conference on December 11.

“I think it’s a hopeful sign that that caucus is not going to be driven off a cliff as much as they were in the past,” Reid said.

Immigration reform has been a top priority of President Barack Obama's second-term agenda, and momentum appears to be growing as outside groups, including Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, put pressure on Washington and polling shows continued support.

It remains to be seen what, if any, legislation will make it to the House floor next year, especially as 2014 will start with what looks to be another battle.

–CNN's Conor Finnegan contributed to this report.


Filed under: Harry Reid • Immigration • John Boehner
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Who cares? Can't wait to see the GOBP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats 2012 Mitt the twit style.

    December 21, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    These guy are bringing too many people into this nation, mainly these universities are greedy, bringing too many India guys. This needs to stop. Visa overstays, viollatiors need to be deported immigrately.

    December 21, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  3. ED1

    I thought you were in retirement if not you should be.

    December 21, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  4. Smitty

    Harry save the country by resigning, take Pelosi, bohner and mcconell with ya. That would be a good start

    December 21, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    These GOP conservatives can't even win an election and they want to tell the rest of the country what to do, GOP, your the minority and will be for the next one hindered years, and stop hiding behind the obamacare law to hide your incompetence and obstruction, GOP conservatives ARE the garbage AND sewage of America and you prove it every day. And hi to the teahage and bafoon DONNA!!!!

    December 21, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. Luke5323

    New Study Says Recent College Grads Likely to be Stuck in Low-Skill Jobs.
    Why do some members of Congress want to give work permits to 11-18 million illegal aliens?
    Oppose amnesty now. Google this: NUMBERSUSA .
    Once you are registered (join us), go to the "action board"

    December 21, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. smith

    Any deal should include a wall on the southren border. The hard truth no one wants to talk about is that our country is becoming overpopulated. There are simply not enough jobs and there never will be as long as the flood gates stay open. It`s so simple, illegal drugs, illegal weapons, slave trading, and overpopulation could be controlled if we really secure the border. If we do that, the economy improves, drug abuse declines, drug related violence declines, illegal weapons trading declines and etc.

    December 21, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. dinkydow

    Not likely Harry. Boehner isn't suffering from exhaustion. And, besides what could possibly make you think that after the Obamacare fiasco that anyone on either side is prepared to take immigration on?

    December 21, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. Chris

    These dumocrats need to quit trying to increase their voting base ...... bringing in ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, making US CITIZENS out of them, and then getting their votes with handouts.

    December 21, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. dinkydow

    The Democrats aren't serious about immigration reform. From 2008 to 2010 while holding "complete" control of all of government they could have easily passed an immigration law but, didn't. Why? They want to hold out until they (Democrats) can get something out of it. They care nothing about immigration reform in and of itself.

    In short, Democrats are playing immigrates.

    December 21, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  11. lynn

    Only thing broken on immigration are the fences aren't tight enough. No pathway to citizenship for the law breakers, rewarding them for their criminal act.

    December 21, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  12. jeff

    I think Reid is vastly underestimating the pressure Bohner has from the very xenophobic members of the Republican party. To them every immigrant is a tax dollar sucking burden on society. i highly doubt that as long as the Republicans allow the Tea Party to caucus with them that there will be any kind of compromise on immigration or rights for minorities of any kind for that matter.

    December 21, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Why would anybody support GOP teaparty canadates like Rubio Cruz lee king of Iowa and Labrador Bachman and radal who DONT support the voters in the rest of their state???????

    December 21, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. RT Colorado

    Of course Rep. Boehner will bend on immigration, he really doesn't have much of a choice. The GOP lost the Hispanic vote in a big way in 2012. Given the weakness in the GOP (they lost 97% of Blacks, 63% of Women, and 73% of Hispanics) they will have to cater to minority groups to regain lost ground. The real trick will be in bringing minorities into the GOP fold without alienating too many conservatives as to split the party. The GOP is feeling it's oats right now due to the ACA debacle, but they shouldn't count on that carrying them too far in 2016, so immigration will be front and center during the next Presidential contest.

    December 21, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. jn122736

    Nothing encourages illegal immigrants more than giving amnesty to illegals already here. We proved this with the same amnesty two decades ago. Millions more illegals will flood the country as soon as a new amnesty is approved, just as they did the last time.l

    December 21, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Bill

    They will get a pathway, Spanish will become the second language, Indians, Chinese, Turks, Arabs are all growing in number, citizens are still too darn broke to have kids, so suck it up and accept the change. The GOP will be no more in a few years, embrace the multi ethnic new America, all you xenophobic rednecks.

    December 21, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. Alan

    They've screwed the healthcare industry and caused millions of people to lose their ins. Now on to granting legal status and of course financial benefits to them. Yes, lets borrow from the Chinese to give to illegals. Morons

    December 21, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. Marek Soupizon

    Immigration from India and China (1.5 billion population each) needs to stop. Rest of the world is not a threat to the United States. For instance, the population of entire European continent (about 50 countries) is 700 million and Mexico's population is 100 million. Americans' attention is diverted and the real threats are not seen clearly.

    December 21, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  19. Gurgyl

    Time to tighten immigration into USA. Period. These guys are raping our benefits, just know this.

    December 21, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. John Rosen

    Would you buy a used car from Harry?

    December 21, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  21. Smitty

    @Name jk, why would anyone believe Barry after winning the biggest liar of the year award ????? What no response, thought not because there isn't one, face it hes been caught lying to many times

    December 21, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  22. Dan

    This is an old political trick meant to try to force your opponents hand. Reid is a liar

    December 21, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. Guest

    @ Gurgyl, I don't have issues with India guys specifically. I have some good Indian friends and employees working for me. But you're right in that these greedy universities often enroll more foreign students than the job market can absorb, which causes visa related issues.

    December 21, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  24. Simple faith

    Boehner will bring up immigration reform because he needs to score points with Hispanics, people of color, women, young people, etc. who make up the majority of our population.

    December 21, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  25. cmml

    Typical liberal. Fully expects negotiation and compromise from republicans but is unwilling to do the same.

    December 21, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
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