Top lawmakers in the House battled over immigration reform on Sunday.
Rep. Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a member of the House Gang of 7 and a key player on immigration reform, warned of “stalemate” in the House, saying that the legislation would essentially be killed if House Republicans make reform conform to the Hastert Rule, which means a majority of Republicans have to vote in favor of the bill.
If Boehner lets “a small group … control the debate and the future on this issue … we will then end in a stalemate and an impasse once again,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“The speaker of the House now has to decide whether or not he is going to allow the American people to speak,” he continued. “There are a majority of Democrats and Republicans who are ready to solve this problem.”
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi also urged Republicans to act on immigration, linking their support with GOP success in political races. Speaking on Meet The Press, Pelosi said that immigration reform was “the right thing for Republicans if they ever want to win a presidential race.” She continued to highlight the importance of Latino support and the support of other immigrant groups to electoral success both on the national and state level.
“We wouldn’t even be where we are right now had it not been that 70 percent of Hispanics voted for President Obama, voted Democratic in the last election. That caused an epiphany in the Senate for sure,” she said.
However, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) reiterated Speaker Boehner’s point that the House will not take up the Senate’s legislation.
“The compromise is going to have to come both in getting a bill out of the House and then in going to conference with the Senate to work out the differences,” he said, appearing on CNN’s State of the Union with Gutierrez.
Republicans in the House favor a piecemeal approach, rather than passing sweeping reform like the Senate.
Still, some lawmakers are optimistic that the House can pass some sort of reform by the year’s end.
Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, a member of the Senate Gang of Eight, predicted on “Fox News Sunday” that the House would pass the Senate bill by the end of this year. Meanwhile Pelosi also waxed optimistic on the prospects of reform.
“I’m hopeful,” Pelosi said. “I’m very optimistic that we will — before too long and certainly before [the end of] this year — have comprehensive immigration reform.”