Pelosi: House Would ‘Welcome’ Immigration Bill This Year

Posted April 22, 2010 at 12:49pm

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the House would “welcome” an immigration reform bill from the Senate this year and believes she could get enough votes to pass such an overhaul.

“When the Senate is ready with an immigration bill, we don’t want anybody holding up for any reason,” she told reporters Thursday at her weekly press conference. “We would welcome it to the House.”

Pelosi met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) earlier this week and agreed that a “moral imperative” exists to move forward with a bill, even if it means scrapping energy legislation until the next Congress, aides said. Pelosi views a comprehensive effort to tackle climate change as the flagship issue of her speakership — a point that she made to reporters Thursday. But Reid appears to favor moving immigration first, and Pelosi, in her meeting with him, didn’t object.

Whether the Senate can actually muster the support for such an immigration bill — a politically treacherous undertaking at any time, much less the summer before lawmakers face voters soured on Washington, D.C., in the midterm elections — is a separate question.

And while Pelosi said she could find the votes for the bill in the House if it passed the Senate, others in her ranks disagree. “I can’t imagine they could come up with the votes,” said Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), who added that he is strongly opposed.

Kate Hunter and John Stanton contributed to this report.