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Cantor: We Can’t Pass Immigration Reform Because Healthcare.gov Is Having Technical Difficulties

By Esther Yu-Hsi Lee  

"Cantor: We Can’t Pass Immigration Reform Because Healthcare.gov Is Having Technical Difficulties"

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Fiscal Cliff

CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

During an exchange on the House floor on Friday afternoon, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said that the House could not vote on the approved bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill that was passed in June because he didn’t want to “repeat the mistakes” of the Affordable Care Act website launch.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) pressed Cantor to bring a vote to pass for the Senate immigration reform bill, arguing that a vote on immigration reform should occur by the end of the year because it can attract at least 218 votes. Cantor responded that Senate Democrats and White House officials have been unwilling to talk and instead insist on a “my way or the highway kind of mode of operation”:

HOYER: Bring it to the floor and see if the House thinks it’s a bad bill. See if the House believes that it’s a bill that is not worthy to be considered and passed as a fixing of a broken immigration system … He has the power to bring that bill to the floor.

CANTOR: We don’t want a repeat of what’s going on now with Obamacare. That bill, constructed as it is by the Senate, last-minute-ditch effort to get it across the finish line … let’s be mindful, Madam Speaker, of what happens when you put together a bill like Obamacare and the real consequences to millions of Americans right now, scared that they’re not going to even have health care insurance that they have today come January 1. [...]

[...] I’d say to the gentleman again. The track record of this administration and the majority in the Senate has indicated an unwillingness to sit down and talk. They’ve not done so, certainly the White House has not done so on the immigration issue, did not do so on the health care issue, and again it doesn’t help the American people for their insistence on a “my way or the highway” kind of mode of operation.

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Cantor’s excuse is just the latest iteration of House Republicans refusing to bring immigration reform to a vote. In August, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) called reform “a waste of time,” and said that the House should focus its attention on Benghazi. In October, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) said that the government shutdown made it unrealistic to pass immigration reform.

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