WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of House lawmakers has reached an “agreement in principle” on a sweeping immigration bill that would parallel work under way in the Senate, sources said Thursday.
The consensus, reached after a private evening meeting, puts the House on track to unveil a bill in early June.
The group of eight Democratic and Republican lawmakers had been stalemated to the point that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, expressed concern earlier Thursday.
“It’s been a difficult, arduous process and we haven’t fallen apart yet,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., a member of the group. “And now we have an agreement in principle and I think that says it all.”
Members of the working group declined to give details of the agreement, saying they’d agreed among themselves not to do so.
The House bill is expected to be more conservative than the bipartisan Senate measure, though it will include a similar political trade-off of border security measures alongside a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people who have entered the country illegally or overstayed visas.
House members, however, appear to have been unable to reach agreement on a new guest worker program for low-skilled employees, a central element to the Senate bill.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held its third work session Thursday to plow through some 300 amendments to the Senate immigration legislation.