Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 7, 2016

Rand Paul: Immigration Deal Could Threaten Boehner’s Speakership

Sen. Rand Paul

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul suggested Friday that John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, could lose his speakership if he allowed anything similar to the Senate’s immigration bill to ever get through the House.

Paul made his comments during an appearance on conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham’s radio show during which he predicted that Boehner wouldn’t permit such a bill to emerge from a House-Senate immigration conference.

“I’m worried about conference,” the Kentucky Republican said. “The only way to avoid a problem with conference is for the speaker of the House to say we are not going to conference, and we will not allow a vote on anything coming out of conference that resembles the Senate bill, and if there were a much more limited bill that emphasizes border security first, that we would do that.”

“I think … if he allows something to pass out of conference that looks anything like the Senate bill and is passed with a majority of Democrats, I think that will be the final thing he does as speaker. So, I think he knows that, and I think he’s going to be very cautious, and I hope he will defend us on this and not pass something that looks like the Senate bill.”

To be sure, Boehner has said he will not bring forth immigration legislation without the backing of his conference, also saying that border security must come first.

For his part, Paul is renewing his call for annual votes in Congress on how successfully any immigration law would be implemented.

“I want Congress to be in charge of whether the border’s secure or not, not the president, whether it’s a Republican or Democrat president, I want Congress to be in charge because I have more trust in the people’s representatives because they’re closer to the people,” Paul said. “Is it perfect? Probably not perfect, but that’s what I want to have happen.”

Ingraham asked Paul what the chances are the Kentucky Republican would be able to back any deal that was also supported by New York Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a member of the Senate’s “gang of eight” on immigration.

“I’d be quite doubtful,” Paul said. “If they have to get everything they want, no way can I vote for that. If they’re willing to dial it back … then there’s a possibility, but we’ll see.”

Members of the gang of eight have said that a path to citizenship is a requirement for any final deal. That’s a point that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., reiterated at an immigration forum held by The Arizona Republic and KPNX-TV earlier this week that featured McCain and his Arizona GOP colleague Jeff Flake.

“It’s my view that the fundamental principle of this legislation has to contain a path to citizenship,” McCain said.

“I don’t accept your premise that the House of Representatives will absolutely reject a path to citizenship,” McCain said at the same event in response to a question from USA Today’s Alan Gomez.

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