Though there is no explicit commitment from Boehner, members and aides close to the bipartisan “gang of eight” seem to have confidence the speaker secretly has their back.
The group briefed him on the principles of their agreement March 15, and on March 19, Boehner called the substance of their proposal “a pretty responsible solution.”
Boehner said April 18 that the bipartisan group “continues to make significant progress” but that Goodlatte is “working diligently with his committee” in addition to that.
“Overall, I’m very happy. The process is continuing,” Boehner added.
The question of who leads on immigration in the House cuts across both substance and process, since Goodlatte is going with a piecemeal approach and the bipartisan group wants to do a comprehensive plan even if, according to House group member Rep. Raúl R. Labrador, the comprehensive plan could be cut up into separate bills that went to the House floor on the same week or day.
Whatever the bipartisan bill proposes, it will still have Goodlatte’s imprint to advance through his committee, according to key lawmakers in public and private.
“It will go through the committee process. It will go through Judiciary. It’s still going to have to go through the process of the committees. It can’t be one small group that gets a chance to dictate to everyone else,” said Rep. James Lankford, chairman of the GOP Policy Committee.
Lankford and Goodlatte referred to the bipartisan groups in the House and Senate as performing a role in vetting what issues are likely to prove difficult for Republicans and Democrats to agree on.
“I’m not a part of their negotiations. My work with them is based on encouraging them to produce something so that we can see what kind of bipartisan support there is on immigration,” Goodlatte said.
The bipartisan group has briefed Goodlatte and Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee that deals with immigration, sources said, but it does not appear the two parties are working closely together.
The Judiciary panel includes a number of very conservative members who might vigorously object to anything approaching “amnesty” for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States.
From left, Lisa Peng, daughter of Peng Ming, Grace Ge Geng, daughter of Gao Zhisheng, and Ti-Anna Wang, daughter of Wang Bingzhang, hold pictures of their imprisoned fathers during a House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building titled “Their Daughters Appeal to Beijing: ‘Let Our Fathers Go!’”
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.