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POLITICS: PennAve

Nancy Pelosi optimistic for immigration reform

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she is “over-hopeful” Congress will pass an immigration reform package despite huge differences between her chamber and the Senate on how to tackle the issue.

The California Democrat said she has “great confidence” that a long-standing House bipartisan group will produce an immigration reform proposal “in a week or two.”

Pelosi added that strong public support for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants will push Congress to pass meaningful immigration reforms.

“Public sentiment is everything. I’m sure during the August break people will be talking to members of Congress,” she said during her weekly briefing with reporters.

“We’re very, very proud of the coalition that is working on this. And it has nothing to do with Democrats and Republicans. It is totally nonpartisan.”

That coalition, she said, includes the “three Bs:” “badges,” for law enforcement; “business” groups, such as the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and “Bibles,” for religious groups.

“I would hope that, as we go forward, we would heed the words of President [George W.] Bush … which he stated last week that as we go forward we have a beneficent attitude toward the people who are caught in this immigration reform debate,” she said.

The Senate last month passed legislation that offers an opportunity for citizenship to millions of immigrants living illegally in U.S. The bill also promises a military-style effort to secure the porous border with Mexico.

But House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he will address the immigration issue with a series of smaller bills, saying his “common-sense, step-by-step approach” makes more sense.

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Sean Lengell

Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner