Gutierrez: Despite Democrats’ 255 Seats in House, GOP’s Lack of ‘Bipartisanship’ Is Why Immigration Reform Hasn’t Passed

By Nicholas Ballasy | July 30, 2010 | 5:41 PM EDT

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.)

( - Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), whose party holds the majority in the House with 255 seats versus the Republicans’ 178, told that the GOP’s lack of “bipartisanship” is the reason why comprehensive immigration reform has not passed in the House of Representatives.
On Capitol Hill, asked Gutierrez, “Democratic congressional leaders are pointing at Republicans saying they’re the reason comprehensive immigration reform has not passed at this point, but if every Democrat voted for it –”

Then Congressman Gutierrez said, “I already said it. I got 200 [Democrat votes]. What happened to bipartisanship? See, so your question is, we don’t need – and everybody kept saying, ‘Where’s bipartisanship, where’s bipartisanship?’”
Gutierrez spoke with after a July 29 press conference in which several other House Democrats expressed their support for federal Judge Susan Bolton’s ruling to halt most of Arizona’s new law against illegal immigration.
“And then this issue, they say, ‘you put all the’ – they don’t exist,” said Gutierrez. “I’ll be the first. I said that, right? I said it. I’ve said it a million times. They keep asking me, ‘If you have a majority of Democrats, why?’ I can’t do it. I failed.”
“I’m up to 200 [votes] but I got 200 -- but if we could have 10 percent of the Republicans, just sit down at the table and bring the votes, we can deal with this,” he said. “But not one will show up. It’s unfortunate.”
The Democrats currently occupy 255 of the 435 seats in the House, giving their party the ability to pass any legislation if at least 219 Democrats were to support it. The Republicans hold 178 seats while 2 seats are currently vacant.
Gutierrez introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 in the House in December 2009. It would allow illegal immigrants who are employed, enrolled in school, or serving in the U.S. military to “earn legalization” by registering with the Social Security Administration, passing a criminal background check, enrolling in English language programs, and paying taxes and financial penalties.