The House GOP leadership kicked off its efforts in earnest on Tuesday when House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy— a former prosecutor — began briefing their colleagues on the basics of U.S. immigration policy in Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s office.
But behind the scenes, a parallel process is playing out. A cluster of previously unknown GOP working groups — which are working with Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan — are reviewing immigration issues ranging from agricultural to high-tech visas, to border security and dealing with illegal immigrants already in the country. These proposals will supplement the main House bipartisan talks on immigration, which are being led by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Cuban-American Republican from Florida. Ryan has also been in contact with the bipartisan group, according to sources…
The House strategy stands in sharp contrast to the Senate’s moves. Top lawmakers and aides in Boehner’s chamber describe a process that would have the House pass a number of small-bore immigration bills with broad support. Those bills would lead to a formal conference negotiation with the Senate, when it passes its comprehensive bill that is expected to be unveiled sometime in early April.
The final product would then be bipartisan and could ease passage through both chambers, according to this thinking.