Schumer: Boehner needs to pass immigration reform to keep majority

Senator Schumer. (Sen. Rockefeller)
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U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said he’s willing to bet “a large amount of money” that Republicans will help send an immigration reform bill to President Barack Obama’s desk by the middle of next year.

Schumer spoke at the Aspen Institute’s Washington Ideas Forum in Washington on Thursday.

The issue has divided the Republican Party, Schumer said, as conservative Tea Party members do not want to see reform, but some “know they have to to do something, which means we’re going to get something done.”

An immigration reform bill, crafted by Schumer and a bipartisan group of senators, passed the Senate earlier this year. That bill would provide immigrants with a path to citizenship, which is a controversial provision within the Republican conference, and Boehner has refused to take up Schumer’s bill.

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Schumer said Republicans could lose seats in key districts if immigration reform doesn’t pass.

He said he still hoped the bill might move this year, but conceded that Republicans might want to keep the focus on the the troubled rollout of the president's health care bill.

“I won’t rule out getting something done this year, but all the fuss about Obamacare makes it less likely,” said Schumer, who didn't dispute a suggestion that the bill might have to wait until after next year's Republican primaries.

Schumer, who publicly supports Hillary Clinton for President, was also asked about recent news reports that Sen. Elizabeth Warren might also seek the Democratic nomination. He said it would be best for the Democratic Party if they could avoid a primary and all unite behind Clinton.