Following Speaker John Boehner’s (R., Ohio) announcement that the House of Representatives will not take up the Senate’s "Gang of Eight" bill, lawmakers took to the Sunday shows to discuss the future of immigration reform and express confidence that the House will produce legislation of its own.
"There’s a way to get there, but I think that way is decided after we have a very thoughtful discussion, everybody has a chance to weigh in," said Rep. Mike Kelly (R., Pa.). "Some of my constituents don’t want [immigration reform] at all. Some of my constituents don’t care about it at all, but at the end of the day it’s critically important to the country, from an economic standpoint, that we get this situation handled,"
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Republican members have received criticism from Democrats and proponents of the Senate bill since Boehner’s announcement. House Republicans maintain that their approach will be better and achieve a key goal of securing the border before a path to citizenship.
"In the House, we’re going to do it right. We’re going to do it methodically. I think ultimately we’re going to get a better piece of legislation. We’re going to get a bill that the American people understand is responsible," Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R., Fla.) told Face the Nation.
"I hope the House will be able to move forward on something, and we can get this into conference," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said on NBC’s Meet the Press. "The stickiest issue, actually, is border security … and I think the House will concentrate on that, I hope they will."
"I’m not surprised that the Senate bill can’t make it in the House," Rep. Tom Cole (R., Okla.) told ABC’s This Week.
"Two out of every three Republican Senators voted no, so the Republican House was unlikely to ever see that as the main vehicle," Cole noted.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), a member of the Senate’s "Gang of Eight," told Face the Nation, "I’m afraid that when it comes to this border security there’s never enough for some. They say it’s about border security, that’s the reason they can’t be for immigration reform, I think it’s about something else."
The decision to not take up the Senate’s bill is something Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, sees as a positive move.
"I think the House should pass separate bills. I still have a problem with going to conference with the Senate bill, which I think is fundamentally misguided," Kristol told Fox News Sunday.
Adding that he was "worried" about the Senate bill reviving itself in conference. A bill that he says has "no promise, no likelihood … of serious enforcement."
"There’s a huge increase in immigration in that bill. Two to three times the number of immigrants over the next decade. … That is bad for the working class and middle class wages and economic opportunity in this country," Kristol said.
Kristol and National Review editor Rich Lowry this week penned a joint editorial calling on the House to "kill [the Senate bill] without reservation."
President Obama has remained relatively quiet as Congress tries to pass legislation, but spoke out on Saturday to encourage the public to contact their representatives and urge them to support the senate bill.