The bipartisan group of House members that has been meeting quietly for nearly four years to discuss an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system is nearing agreement on a framework, and is briefing their respective leadership this week.
On Thursday, the four Democrats in the eight-person group — Representatives Xavier Becerra of California, Luis V. Gutierrez of Illinois, Zoe Lofgren of California and John Yarmuth of Kentucky — briefed Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader. The Republicans of the group — Representatives John Carter and Sam Johnson, both of Texas, Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida and Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho — are likely to meet with Speaker John A. Boehner on Friday.
“I think as of last night, they may have an agreement, an agreement in principle in terms of how we would deal with the question of both legal immigration and illegal immigration,” Mr. Boehner said in an interview Thursday.
The meetings with Mr. Boehner and Ms. Pelosi offer a chance for the working group to offer a progress update and “take the temperature,” in the words of one aide, as well as run through any potential traps.
Though aides and members of the group describe being on the cusp of an agreement, they will probably wait until after the upcoming Easter recess at the end of March to introduce their legislation. This decision seems to be in line with their counterparts in the Senate, who are further along in their public immigration discussions, but have not yet released their own legislation and are also likely to do so after the break.
Mr. Boehner has repeatedly said that he is planning to wait for the Senate to move on an immigration overhaul before the House — where the issue is expected to be a tougher sell — takes up the topic. But he said that he thinks his own bipartisan group could offer him some help in getting immigration legislation through the House.
“Nobody talks about the House bipartisan group, because they’ve kept pretty quiet to themselves,” he said.
Mr. Boehner added: “My goal is to address the issue — how we address it, what the process looks like, there are absolutely no decisions on that. But I do believe it’s important that we deal with this in a bipartisan way, and I’m going to do everything I can to continue to promote that.”