Washington (CNN) - If there were any doubts that comprehensive immigration reform efforts were dead on Capitol Hill this year, House Speaker John Boehner eliminated them on Wednesday.
Boehner repeated his long standing opposition to the Senate-passed immigration bill and his pledge the House would never vote on it, but he went a step further, drawing a bright line: "I'll make clear we have no intention ever of going to conference on the Senate bill."
Last week the third ranking House Republican, GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-California, told immigration reform advocates that there wasn't enough time left this year for the House to take up immigration reform. The House is in session 15 days between now and the end of the year.
After Republicans lost the presidential election in 2012 and Hispanic voters voted overwhelmingly for President Obama, Boehner said it was time for Congress to pass major immigration reforms.
"I think a comprehensive approach is long overdue. And I’m confident that the president, myself, others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all," Boehner said in an interview with ABC News the week after the election.
Facing sharp divisions inside his conference on the issue, Boehner insists he still wants action but says any legislation has to be done in pieces.
"I want us to deal with this issue but I want to deal with it in a common sense step by step way," he said Wednesday.
A series of targeted immigration bills have passed the House Judiciary Committee - mostly focused on border security and enforcement - but GOP leaders have not scheduled any floor votes on any of them.
A significant bloc of House conservatives is adamantly opposed to any measure that provides a path to citizenship or legal status for the 11 million undocumented workers in the United States. So far, none of the House GOP proposals addresses that issue, but opponents worry that any negotiation with the Senate would ratchet up pressure on House Republicans to deal with questions of citizenship.
Boehner's statement Wednesday declaring no talks with the Senate on its bill was designed to put those concerns to rest.
The Speaker brushed aside a question of whether House GOP leaders were avoiding the divisive debate on immigration reform to focus on problems with the implementation of Obamacare.
"This is about trying to do this in a way that the American people and our members can absorb," Boehner said, adding immigration reform is too complicated to rush.
"There are hundreds of issues involved in dealing with immigration reform, and we've got to deal with these in a common sense way where our members understand what we're doing and their constituents understand."
Shouldn't they be focusing their attention on the budget? They delayed any resolution on the debt ceiling and budget (remember the government shutdown?) until December or January.
Just what we need. Another communique from the Republicans proclaiming what they won't do. Sure would be nice to have them announce something they did, or would do, or pronounce a real positive idea.
We'll never win back the favor of the broader electorate with all of this negative PR campaigning.
Boehner said "no" to something? Gosh, that has never happened before.
I believe that history shows how a single bill will not fix a problem. Civil rights legislation has been renewed and added on to constantly since the sixties, and the immigration bill of the eighties that was supposed to end the immigration problem just made everyone feel good for a while.
That is why I can't fault Boehner for wanting to get this done piece by piece, rather than forcing through some 50,000 page piece of legislation and hoping it fixes more problems than it creates.
Given that the Republican party has become a party made up mostly of elderly white males, why would they do anything to help now or in the future to do anything to help increase the amount of non elderly white male voters?
Those future voters will vote Democratic, further reducing the chances of the Republicans party from every winning a national election again.
Wow Really Congress is going to do nothing i am totally shocked!!!!
So, why does it need to be done piece by piece? Is it because it is easier to hide your intentions when you make incremental changes as opposed to putting it all on the table at once? Where everyone can see the garbage plan for what it is?
Great. Congress wants to micro manage everything. They been doing that for the past 4 years with the same so called do nothing leaders. They may as well just say, I don't give a --. Merry XMAS and another Happy New Year. It is a shame Katrina and Sandy did not hit DC instead, may have well, they have done less work than the governments in the Gulf States and Northeast Coastal States. Governor Christy woke up real fast and can't do enough to react better. Sometimes it takes being hit by a truck personally to wake the heck up.
This man is a disgrace! All he wants to do is stop EVERYTHING the President wants to achieve. I hate him and most of the Republican Party. I hope they all go down in history as the worst party and the party that self destructed itself!
They are supposed to be for the GOOD of these United States. For US, not for any President, but all they want to do is destroy the President. They are taking us all down with them!
Republicans...If it doesn't benefit them, its not important.
Agreed, although their real motivation is they won't help people who will never vote for them!
Congress as a job – shutting down your own company, now declaring that they will not work on an issue because there `isn't enough time' (2 months) – I guess I should run for office, what a cake job!
Wish we had more Statesmen" and less "Politicians"
The Republicans have evolved from the party of No to the party of Won't.
We don't need more people coming here to get on our welfare rolls, and that is what they do. Ask anyone in healthcare about all the immigrants on medicaid.
Good. Let's enforce the laws we have now, instead of passing more laws that we won't enforce.
November 4, 2014. Mark that date on your calendar. It's the date on which John Boehner's political career comes to an end. The public will say the word that he's become famous for. NO!
Again, what we don't want to do, not what we can...if you don't want to govern then get the hell out. Success happens, some luck, but some planning – you plan on failure and that is what you(we) get.
We granted illegals amnesty back when Regan was President & the issue of securing the borders was never implemented. Just because more illegals have crossed since then doesn't mean that they should be granted amnesty... Let them have worker permits, not amnesty...
Now is the time for a strong 3rd party candidate to step up and propose some solid common sense measures to return this country to it's once great status. You have the obstructionist Republicans, blocking everything that comes their way like a NHL goalie,... The charity Democrats wanting to give the world and the country away to people who broke the laws of the US to get here,... Both parties wanting to play the "World's Policeman" with our military,... It's total chaos, and has been for years. Get a candidate who comes under the banner of a true Independent, with policies like the abolishment of the IRS and the present tax code in favor of a federal sales tax with no exemptions. Then ANY US based company that has sent their manufacturing overseas pays a substantial excise penalty to bring the finished products back into the US. (call it a tariff) Companies that bring their manufacturing back to the US receives incentives and waivers on tariffs for finished products shipped overseas. Reschedule Marijuana from a Class I substance to a Class III substance since it has proven medicinal properties and is minimally addictive. Eliminate all welfare assistance for persons of any nationality who fail to prove citizenship AND can pass drug testing monthly prior to receiving their assistance. These are just a few ideas, but I'm sure there are much smarter folks than myself who can come up with more and better ones.
The "laws of the land" include the current immigration laws (not enforced) and the ACA which the government has already shown cannot be implemented. Can you imagine the consternation that will ensue if we have to change the immigration process where we already do not enforce the "law of the land". Just implementing the ACA will more likely than not bring America to it's knees.
Perhaps we would get more accomplished if our legislators did not have 'forever jobs' time to bring back the 12-year term limits (2 terms for the senate and 6 terms in the house).
Hey I need green card I go home see my parents 25 years im see them I don't to live this country this country suck
I love how one of the commenters said "deport all the illegals". Do you have any idea how much it would cost to deport around 20 million illegal immigrants, plus what it would do to our economy, and not to mention that they have ties with many Americans here, brother in laws, sisters, brothers and it would devastate many people etc etc. People make such comments without even thinking about repercussions.
Immigration reform is not the central issue folks. We’re all dealing with changes in the national healthcare system that puts control of 1/6th of the nation’s economy into the hands of the federal government. If you’re not concerned, you should be.
Their #1 focus should be on Obamacare, and their #2 focus should be on the budget. They can deal with the remainder after they get their !@#$ together.
GOP. The party of no.