(CNSNews.com) – Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday he expects to move “bipartisan” immigration reform to the House floor, even as the Senate moves forward with its bill to grant eventual citizenship to 11 million illegal aliens.
The Senate voted 82-15 to allow debate on a bill that will grant legal status to illegal aliens before securing the border. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said the Senate bill will “crash and burn in the House.”
During a press conference on Capitol Hill, Boehner was asked, “Is the House going to stop immigration reform?”
“We’re walking ourselves through a process over at the Judiciary Committee that I think will certainly yield a product that we expect to bring to the floor,” Boehner said. “We’ve got a bipartisan group that has very fruitful conversations I think we’re likely to see soon, some of their work.”
“Reforming our immigration system is an important project to this Congress,” he said. “We’ve got big problems that have gone on far too long, and it’s time for us to address them.”
Boehner said the bipartisan group of lawmakers working on immigration reform in the House—known as the “Gang of 7”—have done “really good work.” The group is made up of four Democrats and three Republicans, after Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idado) left the group last week, following a dispute over granting healthcare to illegal immigrants.
Labrador insisted that undocumented aliens should pay for 100 percent of their health care costs, while Democrats wanted to create a “pool of money to which the 11 million undocumented immigrants would contribute to take care of any of health care costs for the 11 million,” according to ABC News.
“This is the wheels of Congress working,” Boehner said on Wednesday. “It’s not glamorous, but a lot of people putting a lot of effort in to address a problem in our country, and I’m glad they’re doing it.”
The Senate’s immigration reform bill passed a cloture vote on Tuesday, clearing the way for a full vote in the chamber. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the leading Republican member in the Senate’s “Gang of 8,” said legalization will come first, ahead of border security.
“Let’s be clear,” Rubio said on Sunday. “Nobody is talking about preventing the legalization. The legalization is going to happen.
“That means the following will happen: First comes the legalization. Then come the measures to secure the border,” he said.
On the Senate floor Tuesday, Sen. Cruz said there is no way the Republican-led House will pass the Senate bill in its current form.
“There are not 218 votes on the other side, in the House, to pass a pathway to citizenship,” Cruz said. “Right now, in my opinion, this bill is headed toward failure.
“Absent major revisions, this bill will crash and burn in the House, and I believe it is designed to do so,” he said.