House GOP Leaders Hint at Republican-Drafted Immigration Bill

Rebecca Kaplan

While the House group struggling to write a bipartisan immigration bill huddled in the Capitol on Thursday, Republican leadership indicated its wait-and-see approach was over.

"Through regular order, the House will work its will and produce its own legislation," said a statement issued by Republican leaders, including Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-VA, and Judiciary Commitee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-VA.

The implication was clear. While the Senate gang produced a bill, the House will have one of its own. And no matter what the House group is doing, or failing to get done, behind closed doors, the House's immigration bill will move through Goodlatte's committee if it is to carry a stamp of approval from Republican leaders. 

The statement came shortly after Boehner accused members of both parties of working against a potential deal.

“I’ve gotta say there are people on both sides of the aisle who have done their best to try to undermine their ability to get to an agreement,” Boehner said.

The leaders' statement followed another round of fatal-sounding warnings that one Republican or another was walking away from the table. This time it was Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, who threatened to draft a Republican bill if the group does not overcome lingering issues.

Indeed, statements from various Republicans appear to all but promise a GOP-only bill will be produced the moment the House group collapses for good.

Not surprisingly, Republicans' description of the problem centers on Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., went so far as to say a deal appears to hang on satisfying Pelosi and that President Obama should call his House ally to get negotiations to move forward again.

"I'm sure if he spoke to Nancy Pelosi, she would agree to move forward," Diaz-Balart said.