A different “Gang of Eight” from the US House of Representatives has put an end to four years of on and off debates by crafting their own comprehensive immigration reform bill. However, the Gang of Eight has now become the Gang of Seven with the withdrawal of support from Idaho Republican Raul Labrador, who says he cannot go along with the healthcare provisions of the accord.
“I could not sign onto it,” Labrador complained to reporters. “I’m now on my own. We’ll see what happens.” The rest of the Gang though, came out of a meeting to say that they had agreed on a way forward but would not be releasing details until it has been put into the language of legislation and gone over line by line.
Labrador has long disagreed with other members of the Gang as to whether US taxpayers ought to be protected from paying for healthcare for immigrants who have been newly legalized. “We have agreed on a way forward,” says Democratic Representative Luis Gutierrez from Illinois. “We hope to make an announcement soon.”
Even once this group’s bill has been drafted it will face an uncertain future, given the bill from the other Gang of Eight that is to be considered by the Senate next week. The new bill is likely to be much tougher on border security with a longer pathway to citizenship. Some House members say that the Senate bill will not pass in the House, while Democrats say any amendments that result in more obstacles to citizenship will not be accepted.