U.S. Rodney Davis said his biggest concern for immigration reform is border security. (WJBC file photo)
By Eric Stock
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis said he's encouraged by what a bipartisan group of lawmakers has produced on immigration reform.
The Republican from Taylorville said the Senate blueprint addresses his biggest concern.
"At first glance, it does what my priority was when we talked about immigration issues during my recent campaign which was to secure the border first," Davis said.
The bill would also provide a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants.
Davis said it's a good sign to see a comprehensive immigration reform package seem to gain support from both sides of the aisle.
"That looks like something that could move in a positive direction. I'm clearly optimistic that based on that fact that we've seen a bipartisan plan come up so quickly after the election," Davis said.
The House is also working on an immigration plan, but the specifics are still being discussed.
Davis said he hopes cooperation on comprehensive immigration reform is a sign of things to come on other issues.
"The fact that we are seeing bipartisanship in such a partisan world makes me optimistic we'll be able to address not only immigration, but also the issues that affect the lives of our working taxpayers in the 13th District every single day," Davis said.
Davis goes against party on Sandy relief
Davis also broke from Republicans Party ranks in backing the $50.7 billion Sandy relief package. That measure passed both chambers on mostly Democratic support.
The freshman Davis said he learned a few things about things work in Washington when Congress approved the plan.
Davis supported the spending saying he believes the federal government should plays a role in disaster relief, just as they should support tornado or floor relief in the Midwest. Because of that, he said he felt compelled to support what some called a 'poison pill' amendment for across the board spending cuts which ultimately failed.
"There are a lot of smart people in Congress. This across-the-board cut is just sheer and utter laziness on Congress' part. We would to be able to go in and reprioritize the way we spend money," Davis said.
That amendment ultimately failed.
Davis said he was also disappointed to see some lawmakers vote against amendments which still would have delivered disaster relief and then support the final bill. He called that hypocrisy.
Davis on Emily's List
Davis is one of five House members that an advocacy group is targeting in 2014. Emily's List, a group that works to support progressive female candidates, also named Reps. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Gary Miller (Calif.), Daniel Webster (Fla.) and Bill Young (Fla.) as House members they hope to help defeat next year.
Davis said Democratic leadership starting with President Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have made him a top target.
Eric Stock can be reached at email@example.com.