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Paul Ryan promises not to touch immigration as speaker

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By Rachel StoltzfoosDC NEWS

Rep. Paul Ryan has given his word he will not bring immigration-reform bills to the House floor as speaker while Barack Obama is president, unless they’re supported by a majority of the Republican conference.

The pledge is a bid to assure members of the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) still reluctant to back Ryan because of his past support for dramatically liberalized immigration laws, including a path to green card status for illegal immigrants.

Rep. Mo Brooks drew up a letter, obtained by National Review, spelling out promises Ryan made to the HFC behind closed doors last week and delivered it to Ryan for confirmation, before entering it into the Congressional Record Tuesday morning.

Ryan called Brooks’ office to confirm the two pledges specified in the letter: It is “unwise or unproductive” to bring any immigration bill to the floor while Obama is president, and as speaker he “will not allow” a floor vote on an immigration bill, unless it is “supported by a majority of a majority” of Republican House members.

The HFC will not formally endorse Ryan, but a super-majority of its members is expected to vote for him Wednesday as the nominee to replace Speaker John Boehner. Their backing cleared the way for Ryan, who agreed to run only if he won the support of every major caucus, but many have been experiencing a constituent backlash.

Brooks told National Review he trusts Ryan’s word, and he plans to use the letter to reassure constituents upset about the prospect of Ryan as speaker. “I said, ‘Ok, Paul … this issue is a major source of disagreement, but I trust you when you give me your word,” Brooks told National Review.

Ryan confirmed the pledge with National Review. “I have long and publicly been opposed to the gang of eight bill, and there will be no comprehensive immigration reform under this president,” he said.

Read the full Brooks letter:

Paul Ryan Immigration Commitments Letter, Annotated

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