House Dems urge vote on immigration overhaul

Democrats in the House of Representatives say they will circulate a discharge petition to circumvent Republican leaders who have refused to consider an immigration overhaul.
By Gabrielle Levy  |  Updated March 26, 2014 at 10:36 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 25 (UPI) -- House Democrats called on Speaker John Boehner to pass an immigration overhaul that has been languishing in the House since October, because they've run out of patience.

"Two hundred seventy two days," said Democratic Caucus Chair Xavier Becerra of California. "That's how long it's been since the Senate passed on a bipartisan basis its immigration reform bill."

"Throughout that entire time, House Republican leadership has not permitted one single vote on a common-sense solution to immigration reform," he said. "Not one vote."

Becerra, who also appeared with Reps. Steven Horsford of Nevada, Joseph Crowley of New York and Judy Chu of California, said they would be circulating a discharge petition, in order to circumvent Boehner and force consideration of the measure.

"This is big, because we constantly hear those detractors of immigration reform say it's not good for our economy, it's not good for American workers, it's not a good deal for this country," Becerra said. "Their cheap talk is not good for this country, because they're keeping us from having $200 billion in deficit reduction, which we could use."

Becerra pointed to a letter from the Congressional Budget Office, sent Tuesday to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, that found the bill -- the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act -- would loosen the bottleneck on legal immigration and provide a pathway to legal status for immigrants already in the country. It also would reduce federal budget deficits by $200 billion by 2024, and $900 billion in the decade after that.

"We have the votes," said Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev. "Now we just need a vote."

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