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May 16. 2013 10:33PM

Bipartisan House group reaches consensus on immigration bill

WASHINGTON (MCT) — A bipartisan group of House lawmakers has reached an "agreement in principle" on a sweeping immigration bill that would parallel work under way in the Senate, sources said Thursday.

The consensus, reached after a private evening meeting, puts the House on track to unveil a bill in early June.

The group of eight Democratic and Republican lawmakers had been stalemated to the point that House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, expressed concern earlier Thursday.

"It's been a difficult, arduous process and we haven't fallen apart yet," said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., a member of the group. "And now we have an agreement in principle and I think that says it all."

The House bill is expected to be more conservative than the bipartisan Senate measure, though it will include a similar political trade-off of border security measures alongside a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people who have entered the country illegally or overstayed visas.

House members, however, appear to have been unable to reach agreement on a new guest worker program for low-skilled employees, a central element to the Senate bill.

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