Two prominent Republicans on the House Immigration Subcommittee gave some love to their colleagues on the other side of the Hill when they praised yesterday's unveiling of a framework for an immigration reform bill.
By far the more surprising one is Iowa Representative Steve King, lgenerally considered the most vocal anti-immigrant in Washington. From Talking Points Memo:
Rep. Steve King (R-IA), one of the most staunchly conservative members of the House, said on Monday that he broadly agreed with a bipartisan Senate agreement that would reform the nation's immigration laws.
"I agree with most of the language in the very broad guidelines," King said in a cheeky statement.
Now if you read the article you'll see that he's hardly turned 180 degrees. But his remarks are hardly the rebuke I would have expected.
Just as important is what was said by Trey Gowdy, the new Chair of the House Immigration Subcommittee. He issued a statement yesterday saying
"The current immigration system is broken and inspires confidence in no one. So, proposals which balance the humanity which defines us as a people with respect for the rule of law which defines us as a republic are welcome."
It wasn't all rosy on the House GOP side. Lamar Smith issued a statement blasting the plan.
But perhaps the most important person in the entire immigration debate is House Speaker John Boehner. He'll have to decide whether to invoke the "Hastert Rule" where Republican Speakers traditionally won't bring a measure up for a vote unless they believe that a majority of Republicans will support it. He's broken that rule a couple of times lately and if he does so on immigration, the chances of the bill passing increase dramatically. Boehner was pretty non-committal on Monday. According to the Washington Post:
A spokesman for Boehner (R-Ohio) said he “welcomes the work of leaders like Senator Rubio on this issue and is looking forward to learning more about the proposal in the coming days.”