Representative Jeff Denham (R., Calif.) disputed the idea that he was working on a secret comprehensive immigration bill, telling fellow Republicans that he views the proposal as a “non-starter.”
“Denham actually took to the microphone to dispute the Breitbart article and to admit that a comprehensive bill is a non-starter,” a Republican lawmaker in the meeting, which is ongoing says in a text message to National Review Online.
Breitbart quoted Denham as discussing a working group on immigration. “I think leadership’s commitment is not only to bring up immigration reform, but to bring it up in multiple different bills,” he told reporters. “We’ve had a working group for quite some time on the various pieces of immigration on doing everything from a comprehensive bill to a step-by-step approach, but finding out who in our conference is actually open to debate and discussion.”
The lawmaker said that Denham argued for a “series of bills,” including something addressing legalization or a pathway to citizenship.
Representative Patrick McHenry (R., N.C.), the chief deputy whip, suggested that the House Republicans have consensus on several immigration issues, but not legalization or a pathway to citizenship.
“We have to move forward in the house on our own terms where our members are,” he told reporters Thursday morning. “And that means step by step individual policies that we push forward. And also, I don’t think House Republicans have to do everything, but we do have to speak in our terms and put forward what we think is right.”