Immigration Reform Uncertain Without Idaho Congressman

By Tom Bacon

Now that the push to reform immigration law in the U-S House has lost the support of a key Tea Party congressman - Idaho's Raul Labrador - lawmakers are trying to figure out what his defection might do to the emerging deal.
Labradorannounced last week that he was severing ties to the bipartisan House group which has been working on immigration reform for months now. His stated reason was that the draft plan might have taxpayers picking up the tab for health care coverage for undocumented immigrants.
Because Labrador's considered a conservative star in the GOP-dominated House, his departure could mean that other arch-conservative representatives would vote against a reform bill.
But at the remaining seven members of the bipartisan group - four Democrats and three Republicans - have expressed confidence that even without Labrador's support, the plan will go forward.
Kentucky Democrat John Yarmuth was quoted today saying that other deeply conservative members, including John Carter and Sam Johnson of Texas, support the draft plan and will help attract GOP support.
Yarmuth said the group is haggling over language about so-called probationary immigrants who might not seek needed medical treatment because of fear of being deported.
House Speaker John Boehner reportedly wants a vote on the immigration reform bill before August.
The Senate may begin voting on its plan sometime this week.
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