Republican Rep. Joe Heck Rips Own Party Over Immigration Reform

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A GOP congressman expressed his displeasure with leaders of his own party after news came out that immigration bills for House votes might not take place this year.

In a strongly worded statement released on Friday, Nevada Rep. Joe Heck criticized the House Republican leadership for “punting” immigration reform until the 2014 election year, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“It’s extremely frustrating and very disappointing to hear reports that the House does not plan on voting on immigration reform legislation this year,” Heck stated. “This is yet another example of the leadership vacuum in Washington that rightly has so many people frustrated with this dysfunctional Congress.”

Think Progress notes that Heck must rely on minority constituents for his 2014 reelection as he represents a district that is 16 percent Latino and 12 percent Asian-American, and local leaders of these communities have pushed him hard on immigration reform. At least 76 percent of his constituents believe that it’s important to fix the immigration system this year, and 61 percent of voters support the bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill.

“There are bills that have passed committee that could be brought to the floor next week, but the House Republican leadership may punt the issue until 2014 for political reasons,” Heck added in his statement.

Some local immigration activists still aren’t thrilled, even after Heck’s outburst.

“It’s frustrating,” said Laura Martin, communications director for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. “People have gone to his office week by week, month by month asking him to say something to his leadership. He’s had a long time to get something going.”

Sources: Think Progress, Las Vegas Review-Journal