Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid challenged House Republicans to forgo their own debate and pass the Senate's immigration bill instead, telling Speaker John A. Boehner to ignore his Republican colleagues in order to get a bill done.
In remarks kicking off Congress' stretch run to its August summer vacation, Mr. Reid said the Senate's 68-32 vote in late June to pass its immigration bill should be a beacon for the House.
"Our responsibility didn't end with that vote. Now it's our responsibility to convince our colleagues in the House they should vote with us," said Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat.
Last month's Senate vote is increasingly looking like the high point for immigration advocates, who fear the House bill will be stricter on enforcement and less generous in its legalization of illegal immigrants — and may not even produce a bill at all, which would doom the issue yet again.
That's what happened in 2006, when the Senate passed a broad bill combining legalization and stricter enforcement while the House passed an enforcement-only bill. The two measures were so different that the two sides never bothered to go to conference to try to work out a compromise.
This year, several key differences have emerged between the House and Senate, with the most important one being different approaches to a pathway to citizenship.
In the Senate most Republicans, including even those who voted against the bill, said they believe a pathway citizenship is needed, but disagreed over what conditions to attach to it. That view is decidedly not a universal position among House Republicans, many of whom say that granting illegal immigrants citizenship amounts to an amnesty for breaking the law.
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