Boehner signals immigration unlikely this year
February 6th, 2014
01:01 PM ET
11 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. xray vision

    Seen this coming, they oh so want you to believe they're for it, but always make excuses as to why they won't act, same ole

    February 6, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Boehner said that last year, and the year before, too. Given the chance, Boehner will say it every year that he's Speaker.

    February 6, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  3. Warren

    Should the GOP win in November LOL President Obama still holds the VETO pen..

    February 6, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. Dannytelevision

    Another failure of the GOP. The party of NO needs to GO!

    February 6, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "There's widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws"

    Massive copout in light of all the facts of Obama's enforcement. More troops and technology on the border than ever before, record numbers of deportations each year...numbers that exhaust the funding Congress provides for deportations...and illegal immigration at a net zero. Massive failure on the part of CNN and MSM to point that out while gleefully treating the GOP/Teatrolls' baseless claims as though they are a legitimate argument. "Oh, but we're just playing he-said-she-said...it's not our job to check facts and provide information."

    Here's what Boehner and the GOP/Teatrolls really mean: "We view immigration as a real threat to our existence because it's mostly brown people coming here and they tend to end up voting Dem. Well, Obama's black. I mean duh...everyone "knows" that a black dude is going to try to help his black and brown brethren take over the country from its rightful white rulers. "THEY" are trying to take "OUR" country away from us."

    If that's too much truth for you, then cry me a river, because that is precisely what the subtext of this GOP/Teatroll "we don't trust him to enforce the laws" messaging is and EVERYONE knows it. YOU. ARE. FOOLING. NOBODY.

    February 6, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    "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,"
    --------------------------------------
    That has got to be lamest excuse ever. This President is responsible for the highest number of deportations EVER. There are drones on the border. There's more security on the border than there has been in the last 20 years and the Senate immigration bill will put even more border agents on the border. Speaking of deportations, Justin Beiber's next and he can take his fellow canadian Rafael Ted Cruz with him.

    February 6, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. smith

    Both parties are just plain horrible when it comes to this issue. The solution is easy, seal the border completely.

    February 6, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Bill

    What a surprise. And they will keep losing elections in the meantime.

    February 6, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. xray vision

    You'll see this again on the minimum wage, and every issue that the vast majority want. If it doesn't benefit the rich, they won't vote for it, why is that so hard to see. They just won't do it no matter what, nothing but excuses .

    February 6, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. Marie MD

    You don't trust our twice elected President?
    This congress has a 13% approval rating you cry baby and if you split it between the two parties your teaklan numbers are even worse.

    February 6, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. Michael

    Again this arrogant, ignorant man is so unable to control his party, lead his party, yet he states Obama can't leed his country. Boehner can't lead anything. Why must we, the country, suffer from this rediculousness.

    February 6, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Boehenr signals immigration unlikely this year
    -------------------------------------------------
    That's okay you keeping the House and gaining the Senate is unlikey this year also.

    February 6, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. Winning

    The Republicans aren't going to do something. Wow. Shocked I am.

    February 6, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  14. xray vision

    Makes me sick how people refuse to see these fools for what they are, domestic terrorists. Benghazi was a tragedy committed by outside forces trying to destroy us, the Iraq war was committed by forces inside our country trying to destroy us.

    February 6, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. ghostwriter

    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.

    SO the next time I hear a conservative complain about Obama holding something off until after an election, I should be allowed to give him/her the gas face.

    February 6, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. xray vision

    No surprise, they don't work for us, their bosses don't want it, so it just won't happen, doesn't get much simpler than that does it .

    February 6, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. Warren

    smith
    Both parties are just plain horrible when it comes to this issue. The solution is easy, seal the border completely.

    WOW just think if they had done that 100 years ago.......

    February 6, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    "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."
    ------------------------
    Democrats shouldn't run from their voting records, the ACA, nor Pres. Obama. Playing political defense always means that you're losing the argument, even when you're, in fact, actually winning it. Look, Democrats. There's your attack line. Republicans are running from immigration and host of other issues: i.e.; jobs creation; infrastructure; education.

    February 6, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    Another republican triumph. When faced with the reality of a country wanting to progress, drag feet, and do so to the point that going backwards seems to be a standstill. If they get re-elected, you have no one to blame but you.

    February 6, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    As if we did not already know this. They have not done a darn thing for the last 5yeas. Please vote these clowns out. They are getting paid for nothing. The GOP definitely is not for the people that is for sure. Nothing but lies and no period.

    February 6, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. Gunderson

    Whazzat?,
    No action on Amnesty again this year? When are the illegal's going to realize the American people will never support Amnesty. There are about 1 Million immigrants becoming citizens a year now under the immigration law. So if you want to become a citizen of the U.S. return to your home country and put in your application.

    February 6, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. Tony D

    Obama and the Democrats can regain the trust of the American people if they start strenuously enfocring the existing immigration laws of this nation. Seal the southern border, enforce the laws, anybody caught here illegally gets deported. ANYBODY.

    As long as Obama and the Democrats pick and choose what laws to enforce, they simply cannot be trusted with enfocring the new laws as well. In 10 years, we'll have another 30 million illegals in the country AGAIN.

    February 6, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. Lolo

    They have' done anything in 5 years. This is not new. They are gettng paid for nothing. Please America vote these ignorant people out.

    February 6, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. Tony

    It is also unlikely that Republicans will make inroads with Latino voters this year, which is too bad for Republicans.

    February 6, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    xray vision

    Makes me sick how people refuse to see these fools for what they are, domestic terrorists. Benghazi was a tragedy committed by outside forces trying to destroy us, the Iraq war was committed by forces inside our country trying to destroy us.
    ----------------------–
    I've always suspected, without any hard evidence, that part of the Benghazi attack was motivated, in part, by past threats to burn the Quran. Those threats had ignited an anger that had never had its' release.

    February 6, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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