Democrat predicts U.S. House will pass Senate immigration bill
Updated: 2013-07-01 07:34
WASHINGTON - The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives will bow to political pressure and pass the immigration bill approved by the Democratic-led Senate by the end of the year, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer predicted on Sunday.
Schumer, a member of the bipartisan Senate group that crafted the immigration measure, said House Republicans who are now vowing they will not pass the Senate measure will ultimately be convinced by political concerns about the party's future.
"I believe that by the end of this year, the House will pass the Senate bill. I know that's not what they think now. And they'll say, 'Oh no, that's not what's going to happen.' But I think it will," Schumer told the "Fox News Sunday" program.
Senior House Republicans rejected Schumer's prediction. Republican Speaker John Boehner has said the House will write its own immigration bill rather than bringing up the Senate bill passed on Thursday, which is supported by Democratic President Barack Obama.
Fourteen Senate Republicans joined Senate Democrats in backing a Senate bill that features a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants already in the United States, an approach vehemently opposed by many conservative House Republicans who view it as rewarding law-breakers.
Some Republican leaders worry that rejecting the Senate bill could further alienate Hispanics, a fast-growing bloc of voters who overwhelmingly supported Obama's re-election in 2012, and could handicap the party in future presidential elections.
Schumer said House Republicans eventually will allow a vote on the Senate bill to get the issue off their backs and ease the pressure from immigration reform supporters including religious, civil rights and business groups.
"Within several months, Speaker Boehner will find two choices: no bill or let a bill pass with a majority of Democratic votes and some Chamber of Commerce-type Republicans. And he'll find that the better choice," the New York senator said.
House Republicans sarcastically shrugged off Schumer's prediction.
"I was moved almost to the point of tears by Senator Schumer's concern for the future prospects of the Republican Party. But we're going to not take his advice," said Republican Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, who heads the immigration subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.
"The Senate bill is not going to pass in the House, and it's not going to pass for myriad reasons," Gowdy said.
"I'm more interested in getting it right than doing it on Senator Schumer's schedule," he added.