House Dems ramp up pressure on GOP over immigration

House Democratic leaders are renewing their pressure on Republicans over immigration this week in hopes of forcing a vote on a comprehensive bill.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office on Tuesday touted a new report by the Congressional Budget Office that said an immigration proposal offered in the fall by House Democrats, modeled largely after a Senate-approved plan, would reduce federal deficits by $200 billion in the coming decade.


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. gestures while speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Sept. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The House plan, like the Senate plan, would provide a path to legal status, and potential citizenship, for millions of undocumented immigrants, providing a boost to economic output and eventually increase wages broadly for American workers, the CBO found.

Like the Senate bill, the House version also "would lead to a significant reduction in federal budget deficits during the second decade after enactment," CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf said in a letter to Pelosi (D-Calif.). The CBO previously found the Senate plan would reduce deficits by $700 million in the second decade.

On Wednesday, Pelosi and other Democrats plan to file a discharge petition in an attempt to force a vote on their immigration bill, though the odds of such a strategy receiving enough GOP support are remote. The petition has 200 co-sponsors, including three Republicans, but that's short of the 218 that would be needed to force Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to hold a vote.

Boehner has said he does not expect the House to take action on a comprehensive immigration bill until President Obama improves trust between the White House and GOP House members. Many House Republicans oppose providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and others have objected to holding a vote on a comprehensive bill before the midterm elections.

“It’s time to have a vote,” said Rep. Xaiver Becerra (D-Calif.), chair of the House Democratic Caucus. “Put country before party and have a vote on finally fixing a broken immigration system."

"We are asking for a vote," House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said. "Let Americans see what their members are prepared to do to fix a broken system.”

Wesley Lowery contributed to this report.

David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.
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