Boehner signals immigration unlikely this year
February 6th, 2014
01:01 PM ET
3 months ago

Boehner signals immigration unlikely this year

(CNN) - U.S. House Speaker John Boehner signaled on Thursday any action on immigration is unlikely this year because House Republicans don't trust President Barack Obama on the issue.

"There's widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws and it's going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes," Boehner told reporters.

The issue of how to deal with some 11 million undocumented workers is the central component of immigration reform that splits the House GOP, which controls the chamber.

Even many of Boehner's allies who support addressing immigration urged him to put off a vote on the issue until after the midterm elections.

Boehner believes certain changes in immigration policy would make good economic policy. He also is trying to help Republicans appeal more broadly to Latino voters, a shortcoming that complicates GOP White House aspirations.

But many Republican members of Congress are worried more about their current races and angering the conservative base, whose turnout is crucial for midterms.

After a lot of attention to immigration reform at the start of 2013, the issue faded over the summer after the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a bill that stalled in the House.

Republicans there said they preferred to address the matter incrementally rather than in one comprehensive measure.

Obama raised the issue in his State of the Union address last week, putting the spotlight on the House to act.

"If we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement - and fix our broken immigration system," Obama said.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Thursday the administration had been heartened to see Republicans, including Boehner, "identify immigration reform" as a priority.

But, he said, building trust on these "issues take time and this certainly has taken some time."

GOP distrust of Obama

In his opening comments at his weekly news conference on Thursday, Boehner said he wanted to tackle the divisive issue of immigration reform.

"You all know for the last 15 months I've talked about the need to get immigration done. This is an important issue for our country, it's been kicked around forever, and it needs to be dealt with," he said.

But in a clear attempt to lay the blame for inaction on the White House, he struck out at Obama.

"The president seems to change the healthcare law on a whim whenever he likes, and now he's running around the country telling everyone that he's going to keep acting on his own; keeps talking about his phone and his pen. And he's feeding more distrust about whether he's committed to the law," Boehner said.

Last week, Boehner released a set of immigration principles at a closed-door meeting of all House Republicans, and a significant block of conservatives opposed moving ahead.

At the meeting, many members said they didn't trust that the President really wanted to work with Republicans to pass something before the election. And some were skeptical that any agreement they did reach to ramp up security efforts around the issue wouldn't be fully enforced by the administration.

A Boehner aide pointed to a letter that House Republican leaders sent to Obama last week outlining a small list of narrow bills they pressed him to support.

Boehner said on Thursday that he didn't see a way to move forward with the much heavier lift of immigration reform until Obama "rebuilds the trust" on some smaller issues.

But even if the President were to agree to help move some of these GOP priorities through Congress,that process would take months, putting any vote on immigration close to the 2014 election - a time when members of both parties agree it would be virtually impossible to reach common ground.

Pelosi dismisses mistrust

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dismissed Boehner's argument that GOP mistrust of Obama prevented any action on immigration.

"That's not a reason not to do an immigration bill, that's an excuse not to do it. And around here you have to always differentiate between what is a reason and what it is an excuse," Pelosi said.

She said there were enough votes in the House to pass comprehensive immigration legislation, and said she believed Boehner was working in "good faith" to try to act.


Filed under: Immigration • John Boehner
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Jake

    I want to know why illegal immigrants get free tuition for colleges in massachusetts. When the people who live in the US as legal citizens and pay those taxes don't. Why should our hard earned money go to those who are here illegally. Someone answer me that or point me in the direction where I can find out because that's not right.

    February 6, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. YOFO

    Don't know what kinda ohians send such crappy leadership that cannot do national business.

    February 6, 2014 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. sammy750

    Speaker Boehner isn't too smart, he doesn't even have a college degree. He has no leadership nor can he convince anyone to agree with him. How did he ever get to be speaker, we just need to ask the Republicans who elected Gov. Scott in FL, who is a 14 time felon, or who elected a 2 time rapist in Idaho senate. Republicans care less who is leading them. There only agenda is to do nothing and obstruct everything. Defeat Republicans if you want this nation to have better jobs and make more people be able to vote. Republicans are taking away the rights of the people. But beware voters, Republicans are taking over city by city, funded by the Koch Bros. They are taking over city councils, key organizations, justices, they are getting elected to key position to take over this nation.

    February 6, 2014 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  4. foxghostwriter

    Wow....thought they were gonna move on this right after Nov 2012.

    February 6, 2014 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  5. Al

    Yeah right...that is why, not the fact that they can not even get it down to one response to the SOTU.....they can not agree on much of anything, so how in the world could they EVER agree on immigration. Keystone Cops.

    February 6, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  6. The right wing have lost their damned minds

    Guess who lost the vote of Hispanic and all other nationalities that are awaiting legal status??? Yup!! Bonehead and his merry band of bigots that keep putting this issue off...November can't get here soon enough to get these folks out!!

    February 6, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  7. Lone wolf

    Who is Boneher trying to fool. He and his fellow republicans have zero plans to work with the a President. This hypocrit now tries the tactic of saying they can't trust the President. Really, this coming from the same people who from the very beginning stated publicly that their number nor priority was not the American people, it was making sure the President does not succeed on anything. Plus the Repubs are afraid of any immigration reform. The ones that cannot be trusted is the House Republicans and the majority of Repubs in the Senate. These guys will say anything they think their base will believe.

    February 6, 2014 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  8. Joe

    Of course save the "talk" for the presidential elections; the issue works for Dem and Reps.

    February 6, 2014 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  9. axl rose

    they are having a hard life without papers as well so at least something for it to be seen

    February 6, 2014 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  10. penguin

    The illegal immigrants who are here work pay taxes and contribute to Social Security and will never see a dime of Social Security benefits

    February 6, 2014 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  11. Chris-E...al

    Hugo Chevez was a better dictator than the great? I AM Oboma !? Atleast chevez had a oil pipeline. An desired his slaves to work? An he could control HIS borders! an he to showed interest in take overs an bailouts to appease few .an hurt many.. thank you

    February 6, 2014 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  12. hellsyeahs

    I love it when they show Boehner looking like he's crying. Just sayin'.......
    If I was the least effective SoH of all time I'd probably cry too.

    February 6, 2014 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  13. Ronald Noe

    This is unbelievable, Boehner can't get the GOP in the House to come together, (NO LEADERSHIP AT ALL), and then blames his own failure on The President! Wow! This is the description of Incompetence in the GOP! They are truly eveil!

    February 7, 2014 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  14. spike

    At least we have a temporary reprieve from the sell out of the american people. Both parties are being exposed for the slaves they are to campaign donors. Knowing that giving them immediate work status would result in 12 years of wage depression for Americans is enough. Once that is known all debate should end. Enforce the existing laws and get on with it.

    February 7, 2014 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  15. John C

    Want immigration reform? Seal the borders first.

    February 7, 2014 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
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