U.S. House version of immigration bill will be slightly more conservative; is close to being done, Yarmuth says

07/05/2013 11:54 AM

The bipartisan authors of the U.S. House bill outlining immigration reforms are “close” to unveiling the plan, which will be slightly more conservative than the Senate’s bill but similar enough to likely become law, said Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville.

“We’ve come to an agreement in principle,” Yarmuth said to start the interview. “I think we will be able to introduce a bill before the August recess, and hopefully we’ll get it acted upon this fall.”

In general, Yarmuth said the approach is slightly more conservative than the bill that passed the Senate last month with support of more than two-thirds of the chamber. Both of Kentucky’s Republican U.S. Senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, voted “no.”

One of the biggest differences is how the House version structures the “path to citizenship” for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the United States. The Senate version calls for a 13-year process for them to become naturalized citizens that includes fines and certain requirements, such as learning English. The House version, Yarmuth said, calls for a 15-year process and higher fines (1:00 of the interview.)

Yarmuth has been among a bipartisan bunch of congressmen working on the House immigration bill for the past several months, calling themselves the “gang of seven” now that one Republican — U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho — left the group over concerns about government-provided health care for immigrants.

Yarmuth said the goal of the Republicans in the group is to craft a bill that at least 100 of the House Republican majority can support.

Should it pass the lower chamber, U.S. House and Senate negotiators will likely head to a conference committee this fall to find common ground between the two measures.

“We’ve met with the Democratic members of their gang of eight … and we’re just not that far apart,” Yarmuth said (8:00).

Yarmuth also discussed how the immigration bills include a provision to set a minimum wage for immigrant workers and how that could affect another rise in the federal minimum wage (7:00).


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