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Topics: House of Representatives

Harry Reid to John Boehner: Pass immigration, ignore 'Hastert rule'

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Monday called on House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to pass a bipartisan immigration reform bill that includes a pathway to citizenship for current illegal immigrants.

“Everywhere I went I saw the immense enthusiasm for this historic immigration bill we passed,” Reid said of the time he spent back home during the recently-concluded July 4 recess.

Before the recess, 68 senators had voted to pass a comprehensive immigration reform package, immediately shifting focus to the House.

“The only Republicans who aren’t yet convinced are here in Washington, in the House of Representatives," Reid said. "Now it’s our duty to convince our colleagues in the House, yes, they should vote with us.”

Reid told Boehner to set aside the so-called "Hastert rule," which holds that no legislation would come up for a House vote unless the majority of the majority, in this case Republicans, support it.

Boehner, who has ignored the rule in past negotiations with the White House, insists that he will invoke it on immigration. That makes it less likely that a comprehensive immigration bill passed by the Senate would get a vote given its lack of popularity among House conservatives.

“Speaker Boehner has repeatedly tried to pass legislation with only Republican votes,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “Any major legislation passed by the House of Representatives with only Republican votes has no hope of advancing over here … or to be signed into law by the president.”

Reid's suggestion was rebuffed by Boehner later in the day, during a Republican press conference held to pressure Democrats on student loan rates.
 
"I've made it clear, and I'll make it clear again: the House does not intend to take up the Senate bill. The House is going to do its own job in developing an immigration bill," Boehner said.
 
House Republicans plan to meet Wednesday on immigration, Boehner said, and the House would act in its own way to pass immigration reform legislation.
 
"We can't just turn a blind eye to this problem and think it's going to go away," Boehner said. "It is time for Congress to act... We will do our job."
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