(CNN) – President Barack Obama said Thursday night before a hometown Chicago crowd that it was up to Congress to move on immigration reform. He predicted that if Democrats don't win big in the midterm elections, the overhaul won't get done.
Obama told supporters at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fund-raiser, "You have a President who is fighting for you in the White House."
"What you do not have right now is a Congress that can function."Follow @politicalticker
Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Thursday it's up to Obama to pass immigration reform.
"The President has responsibility here as well," Boehner said.
Many conservatives in the GOP-led House of Representatives view any legislation that includes a pathway toward citizenship tantamount to "amnesty." When the Democratic-controlled Senate approved a bipartisan immigration bill last year that included an eventual path toward citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, the bill stalled in the House.
Obama's assertion came on the heels of remarks Thursday by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, that the President will act on his own if Republicans don't pass immigration reform soon.
Speaking alongside Schumer, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Congress should pass immigration reform now and let it take effect in 2017.
"If Republicans don't trust President Obama, let's give them a chance to implement the bill under President Rand Paul or President Theodore Cruz," Reid said, referring to two possible GOP presidential contenders in 2016.
Schumer said Republicans had until the August recess to pass an immigration reform bill. "If they don't pass immigration reform then, the President will have no choice but to act on his own. We'd much rather pass legislation," he said.
Speaking at his weekly press conference, Boehner said he has talked immigration reform since the day after the 2012 election and has said repeatedly it's an issue Congress needs to tackle.
"I made it clear we're not going to deal with the Senate bill, a 1,300-page bill that no one has read. And we're not going to do it," he said.
Schumer said Republicans will lose the presidency, the Senate and House if they don't move on immigration. And Obama on Thursday night said that it would take Democrats winning Congress to move on immigration.
"If we do not hang on to the Senate and make gains in the House," said Obama, speaking at a private residence, "we may not get immigration reform done, which means we could have another three, four years, in which we're being deprived of talent we're training here in the United States - they go back home and start businesses someplace else."
With no support in the House for a comprehensive immigration package, Boehner insisted Thursday upon a piecemeal approach to legislation.
"I think that moving in a piece-by-piece fashion on this in a common-sense way is the way to do this," he said.
Boehner attributed the failure to pass immigration legislation on the President losing the American people's trust because of Obamacare.
"When he continues to ignore Obamacare, his own law, 38 unilateral delays, he reduces the confidence of the American people in his willingness to implement an immigration law the way we would pass it," he said.