A leaked immigration plan angers Republicans on Capitol Hill
POSTED: Monday, February 18, 2013 - 9:00am
UPDATED: Monday, February 18, 2013 - 9:12am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — There's a bump in the road as Washington tries to come up with a new way to deal with immigration.
While a small group of Democrats and Republicans are working behind the scenes on a compromise, someone leaked the White House plan - and it's different than what some lawmakers want.
"I'm happy with the President. He's given us the space, and I'm optimistic we can get something done," said Senator Chuck Schumer, New York.
But other lawmakers here are warning President Obama to back off after someone leaked a White House proposal that would immediately protect eleven million illegal immigrants, and allow them to become citizens within eight years.
It does not guarantee what Republicans want: border security first.
"That tells us that he's looking for a partisan advantage and not a bipartisan solution," said Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin.
"This is the President torpedoing his own plan and shows me that he's really not serious," said Senator Rand Paul, Kentucky.
The White House says its proposal is a backup plan for the group of eight Democrats and Republicans working behind the scenes on a compromise.
"If those do not work out, then we'll have an option that will be ready," said Denis McDonough, White House Chief of Staff.
But Republicans insist this leak was no accident.
"Does the President really want a result, or does he want another (UNINTEL) to beat up Republicans so that he can get political advantage in the next election?" asked Senator John McCain, Arizona.
The GOP says the White House proposal would be dead on arrival if it came up for a vote today, but Congress won't return till later this month.