Hatch ‘counting on’ House GOP to pass immigration reform

07/14/13 11:37 AM ET
By Bernie Becker

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Sunday that he was counting on House Republicans to come through on immigration reform.

“Frankly, I'm counting on them. Our bill isn't perfect in the Senate,” Hatch said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Hatch, one of 14 GOP senators who voted for the Senate immigration bill, said his counterparts across the Capitol need to do their part to help make the upper chamber's measure even better.

House GOP leaders have said they’re going to take a less comprehensive approach to immigration than the Senate, moving reform piecemeal.

“There are a lot of things I think need to be perfected, and the House can do a very good job if they will, and then hopefully we could go to conference and come up with a bill that will solve this festering sore that exists in our country today,” said Hatch.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said on the same show that it shouldn’t be a surprise that the House isn’t a huge fan of the Senate bill, given that roughly two in three GOP senators didn’t support it. The Oklahoma Republican also pushed back on the idea that House GOP leaders should just accept the Senate bill.

“We never seem to get anything out of the Senate that a majority of the Republicans voted for and only a minority of the Democrats,” Cole said. “I think we've been more than fair in this.”

“In this case, the House Republicans have to produce a bill,” Cole said. “And it's got to command a majority of the majority.”

But Cole did say that the bipartisan group of senators working on immigration had produced a decent product, and that the two chambers could eventually go to conference. He said he could support a pathway to legalization, as long as future border security measures were guaranteed.

“I think people have very low faith right now in the federal government,” Cole said. “So they're going to have to see some of these other things first.”