Boehner signals immigration unlikely this year
February 6th, 2014
01:01 PM ET
7 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. SNEHASHIS ROY

    Here comes the 2014 Mid-Term and 2016 Presidential election result for you GOP. You lost completely because of incompetency to understand the average Americans. Tea-Baggers are pulling you guys down.

    February 6, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    -smith

    Both parties are just plain horrible when it comes to this issue. The solution is easy, seal the border completely.
    ***********************
    Fine. get us the Saran Wrap that will do the job. Oh, that requires thought, effort, and money: the Right has all but 3 of those qualities.

    February 6, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  3. ChrisM

    lol, yea Boehner, that will get the republicans the Latino vote. hahahahaha

    February 6, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. Wade

    No one can trust Obama that is for sure! We need immigration reform but we need a president that enforces and respects current laws even more.

    February 6, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  5. simplyput

    @SNEHA "You lost completely because of incompetency to understand the average Americans."
    ======================
    There are no average Americans anymore. Nothing can or will ever be the same because really bad decisions continue to be made by the people of this country. How about drugs? There's a teacher in Mexico who's become a meth lord because handing out $ is more rewarding to him than teaching. We're on the same road, Merika.

    February 6, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. Jake from Canada

    If I was Obama, I would go out every single day and call Republicans out for being cowards on this issue. I would say that for years the Republicans have whined about needing leadership in Washington. The President is ahead on this issue, the electorate agrees with him and the only reason the Republicans aren't going along with it, is because they are scared of their increasingly narrow field of primary voters. And I would call them cowards every single day and urge everyone to call their congressman, every day, until something passed.

    February 6, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    smith wrote:

    Both parties are just plain horrible when it comes to this issue. The solution is easy, seal the border completely.
    --------------------------
    Ah, I see what you mean. Instead of an Iron Curtain, we can create a Steel Curtain. But, there's just one problem. Seeing how the American Steel industry is all but dead, we'd have to import just about all of the steel. As an alternative, we could make it out snow and ice, and make it 700 feet tall and 100 feet thick. We could name it "The Wall".

    Seriously, though. How would you pay for such a barrier, anyway. Obvoiusly, you don't want the government to pay for it, because that would be inconsistent with your neo-libertarian views.

    "... ... Libertarians believe in LIMITED govt, ... ... '

    You want a wall, but you don't want to pay the taxes to pay for it. Do you really think that private businesses would pay for something like that? It's possible that they would, but only provided that were sufficient profit in it. What's scary is that I can envision that scenario where it would be profitable, but Ayn Rand beat me to it.

    February 6, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  8. just asking

    how many hundreds of thousands of illegals are arrested in this country every year and then released back into the usa population? or is it a million or more? i'm sure they would never record or report that willfull disregard of our laws.

    February 6, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. Tom

    The tone-deafness continues for the GOP. Continuing to pander to conservative media and the far-right wackos is not a winning strategy for statewide and national elections. Remember Mitt Romney's "self deportation" remark? Dodging this issue is going to cost votes. It might not matter in states where the Tea Party is strong, but everywhere else it's going to hurt Republicans. It is truly amazing how all the mistakes Romney made in 2012 have been forgotten by the Republican party. In the days after the 2012 election Republicans seemed to be thinking about making their party more inclusive. But now the party appears to have caved to the hard-right base and the party has drifted back to being intolerant and exclusive. Good news for Democrats. Very sad news for Republicans.

    February 6, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    They WILL scream "Obamacare,Benghazi,Benghazi" like parrots.

    February 6, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. Wes

    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.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Rudy, the Benghazi attack was for the same reason as 9/11, the attack on the USS Cole etc. The hate has been there for decades.

    February 6, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. Econ301

    I'm waiting for Boehner to signal his willingness to actually solve any of the issues which people want taken care of... it seems the answer is always... not this year...

    February 6, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Interesting. I've always suspected, without any hard evidence, and still suspect, that all those many demonstrations that took place in all those many countries at the same time as the Benghazi attack, were coordinated, and funded by our very own domestic terrorists within the USA.
    Call me what you will, I still believe that.

    February 6, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. independant jim

    ..Nothing new in this story ..The Republican strategy of just say no to any legislation that does not include tax breaks for the rich has no chance

    February 6, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. Jonathon Powelly

    Hypocrites one and all.

    February 6, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. JC

    Phew, good thing immigration is unlikely.....would not want anyone to accomplish anything for a change.....

    February 6, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  17. Randy, San Francisco

    Speaker Boehner is blowing out political smoke screen in blaming the president. The reason for delaying immigration reform is to avoid political in-fighting between Tea Party/anit-immigration reform and moderate establishment Republicans during an election year. Politics as usual for the GOP. Do what is beneficial for the party and not what is best for the country.

    February 6, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. sammy750

    Speaker Boehner saying Obama cannot be trusted, Really Boehner. No one trust you or a Republican. You have created and spread LIES about Obama and the senile believe you. This nation will not be safe until Republicans are defeated. The senate Republicans just defeated the extended unemployment bill again. Republicans agenda is to starve out the people with no unemployment, no food stamps. taking away health care. This is the agenda of the Republicans. ANd in W.VA the Republicans have poisoned the drinking water.

    February 6, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  19. Neil

    I am a Republican and i am ashamed that this Speaker will not allow a simple vote on the floor. We had a shot to start getting the Latino Voters on our side. Now forget it, the Republican Party needs to plan for 2020. If they really are Republicans, please separate your self from the Tea Party all the way. Let them go and make their own party, so you don't have to compete with them in Primaries. And if you want my Vote Republican Party then show me that you have the guts to stand up to Tea Party or else i am going to just Vote Democrat all over the ballot.

    February 6, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. rs

    A shock! Republicans being unproductive!

    February 6, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Jack

    Talk about trust; your Tea party colleague's have "no" creditability at all! The bipartisan "Nolabels" have tried and tried and tried to bridge the and the President has been willing, but not Michell Bachmann and the rest of the tea drooler's

    February 6, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. Thomas

    Did you expect anything less from the party of NO ?

    February 6, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  23. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Just an excuse to continue to do nothing and think their going to WIN The election in November and that the Chinese and Latinos are MORONS, VOTE DEM,I AM!!!!!!

    February 6, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  24. SomeNameHere

    So the do nothing congress does nothing so the president threatens to use executive order. So boehner and the gop House whine like little you-know-whats and say no movement on immigration reform will be the president's fault. Now granted, there are a lot of stupid people in this country but even they won't be fooled by this, boehner.

    So the gop continues to shoot themselves in the foot. Adios gop, once again. Hope you like those crickets in the wilderness.

    February 6, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. American Worker

    No existing or new law or regulation is any good when the executive branch deliberately chooses to ignore its duty to impartially enforce them.

    What Boehner should be doing is taking the Executive Branch to task for non-enforcement.

    February 6, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
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