GOP leader receives award, talks immigration, ‘Bette’
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said Thursday an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws still has a shot in 2014.
“I think immigration is still a possibility,” she said, despite the fact that the issue has stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives after the Senate passed a bill last year. “There’s a recognition that we need to fix what is a broken immigration system.”
McMorris Rodgers, the highest-ranking woman in the House, was visiting Spokane during a congressional recess.
She accepted an award from the Metals Service Center Institute, a trade organization representing industrial metal manufacturers and refiners nationwide, for her support of legislation they deemed vital to the trade. She also toured Haskins Steel Co., a Spokane-based service center that prepares industrial metals for clients throughout the region.
In remarks to employees, McMorris Rodgers said setting aside money for workforce training is an area she thinks Democrats and Republicans can agree to, something that has proven elusive in talks to amend the country’s policies on border security, guest worker programs and – most notably – citizenship opportunities for immigrants living in the country illegally.
McMorris Rodgers also addressed the “Bette in Spokane” controversy prompted by her GOP rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. In that speech, she told the story of a constituent, Bette, whose premiums had increased $700 monthly as a result of the new health care law. The Spokesman-Review later discovered the claim mentioned one of the more expensive options Bette Grenier was given by her insurer after her plan was canceled. It didn’t refer to prices found on the new health exchange, an option Grenier declined.
“She was believing the promise that she would be able to keep her health insurance if she liked it,” McMorris Rodgers said of Grenier to The Spokesman-Review. “That was not the case.”
McMorris Rodgers also discussed the ethics investigation into her handling of campaign money during a run for House leadership. She said she expected she would be cleared of wrongdoing and that she was fully cooperating with investigators.