Watching and Waiting

by Suzy Khimm | January 5, 2010

Despite reports yesterday that the White House had reached an agreement with legislators on the immigration provisions in the health-care bill, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus today denied that they had struck such a bargain with the Democratic leadership, and one leading Hispanic Representative said that he had not yet been approached about the matter. "The CHC's position remains the same: It opposes provisions in the Senate health care bill that would negatively impact immigrants," a CHC spokesperson told Ben Smith this afternoon.

The CHC's public position falls in line with remarks that Rep. Raul Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, made to TNR today. "I have not been personally or included in any discussion about any agreement or any deal about voting for a Senate version or restricted language in the health bill in exchange for any push on comprehensive immigration reform," Grijalva said this afternoon. Both Grijalva and the CHC spokesperson declined to comment publicly about the state of the negotiations about the Senate immigration provision, which prohibits unauthorized immigrants from buying insurance on the exchanges.

Grijalva also talked, once again, about the Democrats' decision to bypass formal conference committee negotiations. Yesterday, the Representative remarked that he was "disappointed" because "I and other progressives saw a conference as a means to improve the bill and have a real debate, and now with this behind-the-scenes approach, we’re concerned even more." Not much seems to have changed since then. When we spoke, Grijalva reiterated his concerns, noting that "the Progressive Caucus has not been formally approached to have input into this thing."

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