The House bipartisan “Gang of Eight” has reached an agreement in principle on immigration overhaul, including major points such as a pathway to citizenship, border security, health care and guest workers, a member of the group told ABC News tonight.
The lower chamber now expects to work out details next week before taking the Memorial Day break and introducing the bill June 4.
Over hoagie sandwiches, a two-hour meeting of a bipartisan group of congressmen nearly fell apart today over who would pay for immigrant health care, the House “Gang” member said.
Official portrait of Congressman . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, was the last holdout who had to call into the meeting from Idaho where his daughter had a recital, the member said.
Labrador, described as the most influential Republican in the House “Gang of Eight” because he represents Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s interests, finally agreed when language proposed by Democrats ensured that taxpayer money would not pay for immigrant health care.
Although not a member of the “Gang of Eight,” Wisconsin congressman and former vice presidential contender Paul Ryan was instrumental in bringing the Republicans along in the agreement.
The House bipartisan group that seemed to have stalled earlier today announced it is finally moving forward on its own version of immigration overhaul.
“We do not have an immediate debt crisis,” Speaker John Boehner said on ABC’s This WeekSunday, echoing both Rep. Paul Ryan and President Obama in a rare point of agreement on the nation’s fiscal issues.
Last week, Obama told ABC’s George Stephanopolous that “we don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt,” and, “in fact, for the next 10 years, it’s gonna be in a sustainable place.” The president’s remarks provoked an outcry from those who thought a blasé treatment of the country’s deficit would harm the chances of a grand bargain.
A major Republican contention is that growing debts pose a threat to economic growth. In exchange for modest reform on entitlements–the key drivers of the debt–Republicans would concede (in theory) on what Democrats want: new revenues. But if Obama doesn’t see danger in the deficit, the thinking went, what’s either party’s incentive to make a deal?
Now Boehner and Ryan are conceding that point as well, that there is no immediate debt crisis–but with a qualifier: a crisis is on the way.
“We do not have a debt crisis right now,” Ryan told CBS’s Face The Nation Sunday. “But we see it coming. We know it’s irrefutably happening. And the point we’re trying to make with our budget is, let’s get ahead of this problem.”