Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) praised a bipartisan group for coming up with “a pretty responsible solution” on immigration, the first public endorsement the Speaker has made on the substance of secretive talks that have gone on for more than four years.

A group of eight lawmakers — four Republicans and four Democrats — has been meeting privately to craft a comprehensive immigration overhaul, and they told Boehner and other Republican leaders last week that they were close to a deal.

“They’re essentially in agreement over how to proceed,” Boehner told reporters at a press conference. “But this is just the beginning of the process. There’s a lot of education that needs to be done, because more than half of our members have never dealt with the issue of immigration reform, both on the legal side and on the illegal side.”

“There’s a lot of issues here that have to be dealt with,” he added. “I think what the bipartisan group came up [with], frankly, is a pretty responsible solution.”