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Is race a factor in why Congress hasn't been able to pass an immigration bill?

Rep. Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, suggested so as he echoed a sentiment expressed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi last week.

"To a significant extent the Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism. And that's unfortunate," said Israel during an appearance Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.

Israel noted that "not all" Republicans are motivated by race, as he was asked to comment about Pelosi's stance. "The American people want us to at least vote," he said.

It's been nearly a year since the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the United States. There's little chance for the Senate version to come up in the House, where Republicans have only managed to unveil principles for an overhaul. That plan strengthens border control measures and allows undocumented immigrants to "get right with the law" and stay in the country.

Pelosi last week said she about Republicans in the House majority: "I think race has something to do with the fact that they're not bringing up an immigration bill." The Democratic leader was responding to a question about whether race factors into the way Republicans deal with the Obama administration.

Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, called Pelosi's comments "wrong and unfortunate." He appeared with Israel on CNN.

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