House Immigration Group Reaches Deal

by Jonathan Strong

A top Republican member of a secretive bipartisan House immigration group says they have come back from the precipice of near-failure and struck an agreement.

“We have an agreement in principle,” said Texas representative John Carter. Only yesterday Carter and fellow GOP group member Representative Raul Labrador threatened to abandon talks with Democrats if the lawmakers could not reach an agreement by today on whether illegal immigrants would be allowed to receive benefits under Obamacare.

The group met at 4 p.m. today and was able to reach a deal. Carter declined to provide any details about the substance of the agreement but said “it’s done” and that the only step left is drafting the legislative text.

Speaker John Boehner has encouraged the group over its four years of existence, including urging its founding Republican members to participate when talks began in March 2009. House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, who carries significant influence in the House, has also appeared at events on immigration with Representative Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, showing his support for the group.

However, House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte has launched his own piecemeal-type approach to immigration, and any immigration bill, such as the endorsed by the bipartisan group, must go through his committee.

Carter, Labrador and Representative Sam Johnson are key Republicans in the group. Gutierrez and Representatives Xavier Becerra and Zoe Lofgren are key Democrats.