House Immigration Group Looks Ready to Collapse

Rebecca Kaplan

The House group struggling to write a bipartisan immigration bill huddled in the Capitol on Thursday, trying yet again to bridge gaps that threaten to kill the effort altogether.

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, warned he will walk away and draft a Republican bill if the group does not overcome lingering issues. But gang members do not even agree on why the issues at play are still in dispute.

Not surprisingly, Republicans' description of the problem center 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.
According to Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, one of the group, Pelosi had concerns about its approach on health care and asked that a Democratic proposal be considered.

Not so, said the California Democrat. "It is our position in the immigration bill: no access to subsidies in the Affordable Care Act," Pelosi told reporters Thursday.

The group found itself at a similar impasse last week, with Labrador and Carter both threatening to walk.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who has steered clear of the group’s floundering effort, on Thursday 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.

But something would get done, the speaker said—a clear implication that if the gang fails, Republicans will move forward with a bill on their own.

"The House is going to work its will on immigration," he said.