Schumer’s plan? Stop asking House GOP to vote ‘yes’ on immigration

Sen. Chuck Schumer on Morning Joe.
Sen. Chuck Schumer on Morning Joe.

New York’s Sen. Chuck Schumer says he has a plan to get his immigration bill through the House.

“I believe we’ll pass immigration in the House and here’s why,” Schumer said on Wednesday’s Morning Joe. The Gang of Eight immigration bill passed the Senate in last month, but any bill that looks remotely like the Senate’s bill faces a tough vote in the House of Representatives—if the bill can even get a vote. House Speaker Rep. John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, has said he will invoke the Hastert Rule and not bring the bill to the floor unless it has a majority of Republican votes.

But at a recent meeting with the House GOP leaders–Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy–they “all agreed we had to do a bill,” Schumer said. “They know they have to do a bill because of the future of their party and because we’ve established such a large coalition.”

Now, Schumer said he has a plan to get around Boehner’s threat on the Hastert rule—and get a comprehensive immigration bill through the House that includes a path to citizenship.

“We need a path to citizenship,” Schumer said. “Here’s how we’re going to get it.”

He and other immigration advocates are “going to Republican after Republican,” but they’re not asking for their votes. We’re asking them “to say ‘put a bill on the floor, Mr. Leader.’” Schumer said.

“If you ask to get a majority of Republican votes, no bill,” he said. “If you ask to change the tone in the House?”

Schumer said that by getting Republicans to consent to a vote, he believes they could attain a majority of votes thanks to Democrats in the House.

“We’ve done it with the fiscal cliff, with Sandy,” Schumer said. “We will get it done that way.”