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Syria, schedule have crowded out immigration debate, says top GOPer

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A top House Republican who has been working on immigration said the Syria debate and a crowded congressional schedule have made it tougher to get an immigration bill through his chamber this year.

Rep. Raul Labrador, Idaho Republican, also told Spanish-language network Univision's "Al Punto" program that if the debate doesn't happen this year, he doubts it can happen in 2014, which is an election year for the House and for a third of the Senate.

"If we don't do it now, in 2013, it's not going to be — it's not going to happen in 2014. And that means that we're going to have to wait until 2015," he said, in the English language translation provided by Univision. "A lot of us thought that the debate was going to be in October, but now, with the problems that we're having internationally and also here in this country, I don't see how we're going to be able to have this debate until — until November. And I really don't know if it will be possible to do it in November."

Mr. Labrador had been part of a group of eight House members working on a big immigration deal, but he withdrew from the group after seeing the direction it was going on certain issues, such as health care coverage for illegal immigrants who get legal status.

The interview is slated to air Sunday.

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