Schumer wants one big bill, Rubio could support a step-by-step approach.
The landmark Affordable Care Act at 974 pages is still a powerful reminder of how sweeping legislation coming out of Washington can get messy fast.
The analogy is so compelling that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell still wheels all the regulations the bill has created on stage for speeches. Stacked page by page, the display towers above McConnell at 7-feet-3-inches.
It's the continuous reminder, aides say, that sometimes Washington passes well-intentioned legislation that snowballs into an implementation nightmare.
So as Congress debates the many facets of immigration reform from administering agricultural worker visas to bolstering border security, Republicans in the House are vowing to tackle the country's broken system one step at a time.
"By taking a fine-toothed comb through each of the individual issues within the larger immigration debate, it will help us get a better bill that will benefit Americans and provide a workable immigration system," House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., told reporters Thursday.
Goodlatte announced that later this week, House members will introduce a series of smaller bills that address a different piece of the immigration debate. One will create a temporary agriculture guest worker program and another, for example, will require businesses to cross reference an employees' immigration status through a digitized database.
But many members of the Senate's "gang of eight," who unveiled their own sweeping bill last week, worry Goodlatte's strategy would undermine their work.
After all, they say, big bills are the best way to ensure that most issues are addressed and it creates an incentive for lawmakers to give and take.
"We decided you cannot do individual bills because the problem is people say 'what about me?' They tried that in the last Congress," Sen. Chuck Schumer, R-N.Y., told reporters during a breakfast meeting with reporters Thursday. "What we have found is ironically, it may be a little counter intuitive, that the best way to pass immigration legislation is actually a comprehensive bill because that can achieve more balance. And everybody can get much, but not all of what they want."
His Republican colleague, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, agreed.
"It has got to be a comprehensive effort," McCain said at the breakfast.
But not everyone in the senate working group believe that all immigration reform legislation has to be included in one monstrous bill.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who originally promoted passing immigration reform with a set of smaller bills, applauds the House's efforts as a constructive step forward.
"From my discussions with him in recent months, I know chairman Goodlatte is deeply committed to fixing our broken immigration system and ending de facto amnesty, and he's put forth two important proposals to move us in that direction," Rubio said in a statement. "I look forward to studying these bills, particularly to see if they offer ideas we can incorporate into the Senate bill as it moves through the amendment process."
Many Republicans in the House, because of legislation like Dodd-Frank and the Affordable Care Act, are skeptical of the Senate's approach.
"Both parties are both coming together now to either disassemble, repeal or better shape up those pieces of legislation, says freshman Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., of Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. "I don't want the same thing to happen with this legislation."