Speaker: Immigration overhaul tough to pass

Boehner blames impasse on skepticism that Obama would enforce any reforms
Associated Press
Feb 8, 2014

Speaker John Boehner on Thursday all but ruled out passage of immigration legislation before this fall's elections, saying it would be difficult for the Republican-led House to act on the issue that President Barack Obama has made a top domestic priority.

In his most pessimistic comments, Boehner blamed the stalemate on widespread skepticism that Obama would properly enforce any immigration reforms that Congress approved. The GOP leader didn't mention that his own members have balked at acting on the contentious issue, which could enrage core conservative voters in the midterm election year.

"The American people, including many of our members, don't trust that the reform we're talking about will be implemented as it was intended to be," Boehner told reporters at his weekly news conference. "The president seems to change the health care law on a whim, whenever he likes. Now, he is running around the country telling everyone he's going to keep acting on his own."

Just last week, Boehner and other House Republican leaders had unveiled broad principles for immigration changes, including legal status for the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally, tougher border security and a shot at citizenship for children brought to the country illegally.

National Republicans see the failure to act on immigration as a political drag on the party after 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney captured just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote, and they are pressing for action to moderate the party's image. The principles endorsed last week were seen as a congressional jump-start for an issue that had been stalled since Senate passage of a comprehensive, bipartisan bill last June.

But conservatives rebuffed their leaders and questioned the wisdom of acting this year, equating legal status with amnesty and resisting giving Obama a long-sought legislative victory. Republicans also worry about primary challenges from the right and fear that new Hispanic citizens will add to the Democrats' voter rolls.

Control of the Senate, Republicans say, is within reach, giving them hope for greater leverage in negotiations on immigration in 2015. But the year leading up to the presidential election could be a tough one for making progress since Republican candidates tend to move right to shore up support ahead of the primaries.

The latest unraveling on immigration came quickly.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who had advocated for action on immigration within his caucus, said this past weekend that passage of a bill was unlikely this year and cited distrust of Obama. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who faces a primary challenge, said Tuesday that differences between the Senate and House were an "irresolvable conflict."

On Thursday, shortly before House members left Washington, Boehner said, "Listen, 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 said Obama has to rebuild that trust. White House spokesman Jay Carney dismissed that demand.

"The challenges within the Republican Party on this issue are well-known, and they certainly don't have anything to do with the president," Carney said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she was willing to give Boehner time to succeed. Democrats could try to force the issue later this year, rounding up support to require a vote on the Senate-passed bill.

"Just knowing him, I believe he does want an immigration bill," Pelosi said of Boehner. "I do believe he does not want to be the speaker who says, 'I'll do an immigration bill as long as it creates an underclass in America.'"

The Senate last June passed a bipartisan bill that would tighten border security, provide enforcement measures and offer a path to citizenship for those living in the United States illegally.

The measure stalled in the House, where Boehner and other leaders have rejected a comprehensive approach in favor of a bill-by-bill process.

Boehner's comments raising doubts about the prospects for action on immigration legislation this year angered advocacy groups.

"I wish I could say I was surprised Speaker John Boehner is blaming President Obama for his own unwillingness to act on immigration reform," said Eddie Carmona, campaign manager for PICO National Network's Campaign for Citizenship. "The truth is, the speaker has, time and time again, proven that he would rather pander to the extreme portions of his party than work to achieve a bipartisan solution for an issue that impacts countless families and communities across the country."

Rocio Saenz, the Service Employees International Union's executive vice president, said Republicans have a choice: "They can pander to a small, extremist arm of the GOP and follow them into the political wilderness or they can do the right thing for our nation and pass immigration reform."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he didn't "blame Boehner alone. Because the Senate Republican leader threw cold water on this," a reference to McConnell's comments.

Members of the group of eight senators who put in long hours drafting legislation held out some hope for action this year. If the House fails to pass legislation, the Senate-passed bill dies at the end of the year, with the conclusion of the congressional session.

"I'm still optimistic that we'll get this done," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he was "guardedly optimistic" because "there is overwhelming support from business, from evangelicals, from across the board people we represent."

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said Boehner was trying to blame his own inaction on Obama and pressed the House for legislation.

Though Obama has threatened to act on his own if Congress does not move on some of his other priorities, Carney signaled that Obama was not prepared to act unilaterally on immigration.

"There's no alternative to comprehensive immigration reform passing through Congress," Carney said. "It requires legislation. And the president's made that clear in the past, and that continues to be his view."

Comments

There you go again

Now why would anyone think Obama wouldn't enforce something or, maybe even delay enforcement, without any regard to laws and the Constitution? Surely he has never done it before-ha ha ha!

Donegan

Service Employees International Union's (SEIU Weird how they didn't use the abbreviation that is linked to all sorts of thuggish things), Just the kind of Communist thugs we want steering policy to get tons more dues squeezed out of people.

Contango

In other related news:

"2013 Expatriations Increase by 221%"

http://intltax.typepad.com/intlt...

Many wealthy with green cards are tired of the U.S. kleptocrats picking their pockets and are leaving.

The Big Dog's back

Good!

Donegan

Guess you do not realize it or just to dense to figure it out. Who is going to pay for your social programs? You do realize the rich pay most of the taxes? Oh i know youll pray to your god to pull it out his a$$ right?

holysee

"Narcotics police are an enormous, corrupt international bureaucracy ... and now fund a coterie of researchers who provide them with 'scientific support' ... fanatics who distort the legitimate research of others. ... The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, depriving the sick of needed help, and suckering well-intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents."
-- William F. Buckley,

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Usually when a neighborhood identifies it has a "crazy cat lady", action is taken to remedy the situation. While she may care about every stray that comes her way, the fact her house is filthy, overcrowded, and dysfunctional means she can't even care for the abundant cats she already has. The crazy cat lady will protest when removed from her house (or her cats removed from her, some of which must unfortunately be put down for being feral or diseased) but it is for her benefit and the benefit of the cats that they be brought into a clean, functional house that can care for and afford them.

The United States, I submit, is a crazy cat lady. Why doesn't it find out a way to clean its house and care for the cats it already has before taking on more who, through aspects of nature/nurture, become feral, forgotten, abused, or neglected? This comparison is made by a fan of cats - literal and metaphorical.

http://www.amazon.com/Accoutreme...

tk

Your comments comparing human beings to feral cats is disgusting.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I believe you didn't see where I mentioned only a portion are and that portion are the ones who do "feral" things such as murder, rape, and conduct human/drug smuggling. You know, non-human activity. So I'll urge you to reread and limit the scope of your indignation.

Unless you don't believe that a small portion of people who are here illegally (such as over staying their visas) aren't capable of flying planes into towers? Or was that not disgusting and hurtful to others including legal immigrants who follow the law and just want to live their lives?

The Big Dog's back

The only reason Repubs are against any immigration policy is MONEY. Instead of paying them less than minimum wage, they would have to pay at least minimum wage. MONEY!

goofus

As a conservative I'm finding it hard to imagine that our elected representatives have a difficult time understanding of the word illegals. Boehner needs to go!! One can clearly see his waffling on the subject based on the backlash from the conservative element of the GOP

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

A little-known fact is that the Speaker of the House doesn't have to be an elected Representative let alone one that has the most "seniority" (which does NOT equal knowledgeable elt alone nonpartisan). When he gets replaced, it would be nice to see it not go to the next GOB/party hack in line.

OSUBuckeye59

Both parties are being lobbied by big biz to keep illegals in the country because if we truly did deport illegal aliens, many businesses would be at risk of losing a majority, if not all, of their workforce. Businesses such as janitorial services or (plant) nurseries, to name two.

Darwin's choice

It's not only John boy, it's the entire structure of politicians in DC.

It's time to clean house....

OSUBuckeye59

Yes, time to clean out the House. And don't forget the Senate. Have to wait a couple of years to clean out the White House, though.

OSUBuckeye59

Boehner may be correct in his fear Obama won't properly enforce passed legislation. He might be. Then again, this just might be a new wrinkle in Boehner doing his part to insure no legislation gets passed.

It's amazing we continue funding the people who just don't want to work, as in our federally-elected officials who seem not to want to work together and move our country forward.

starryeyes83

Always the same BS...They can't do this they can't do that.

Wrong! They DON'T want to; therein lies the difference.

coasterfan

Of all the silly things to ever come out of Boehner's mouth, this may be the silliest. Recent history, of course, shows that the a Party of No has held their collective hand in the face of Obama since he took office. Well-documented comments made by McConnell, Boehner and other GOP leaders are testimony to the party's #1 goal: to obstruct and stop the Obama agenda.

It's also obvious that the main reason Boehner and his buddies are against amnesty for illegal immigrants is that they know the vast majority would not vote for Republicans. See, for them, it's easier to Just Say No, than it is to actually craft a platform that would attract anyone besides their shrinking base of aging Caucasians and the God & Guns crowd.

Things have, quite recently, improved. For Republicans in the House, apparently it takes the specter of an upcoming election for them to acknowledge that a decided majority of Americans are unhappy with their stance. Until then, they answered to a relative few, the 1% who bankroll their cause.

My question: why don't TeaPartiers notice that they are being used, that they are a tool for the Koch Brothers? Why don't they realize that their own party doesn't care one whit about them, beyond their willingness to vote for policies that let the ultra-rich hoard their wealth? Why don't they notice that nearly all of the wealth in America is being re-distributed to the 1%, while they themselves drive around in their rusty 18-year-old minivan, complaining about Obama?

As I've said before, there are only 2 reasons to vote Republican. Either you're rich and heartless, or poor and brainless.

Darwin's choice

And, that house "cleaning" should include all the criminals who call themselves democrats, from the white house on down!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Not a member of the Democrat Master Race here, but I'd like to point out a few things to balance out your partisan comments:

1. Out of curiosity, how many House bills did Sen. Reid refuse to bring up for a vote? Additionally, probably without even reading the legislation, how many bills has the President threatened a veto before it is even voted upon? So please don't imply that Republicans are the only "Party of No".

2. Since when does any president get to impose HIS personal agenda on a nation of 310+ million people of which only approximately 66 million voted for him? It is a president's job to execute the laws faithfully, not to write them, impose them selectively, or govern without consent of the people as reflected in the House of Representative (and to a lesser extent the Senate).

3. I agree that either/both the party's perception or platform are increasingly irrelevant. However, please don't presume that Democrats are neither "bankrolled" by the 1% (ugh I feel dirty resorting to that phrase to communicate, and with a teacher of all people) or a firm and established portion of that same 1%.

http://media.cq.com/50richest/

R = 29 (3 in top 10)
D = 21 (7 in top 10)

I guess we can presume that these Democrat members of Congress, who must never take a dime of individual/corporate/PAC/special interest group wealth, also don't deduct everything they can from their taxes, favor the industries they own, or conveniently invest in land before an "infrastructure" improvement is set to be built through it.

Seems like the restrooms in Congress must be the best place to go to the bathroom because no matter how often they are used there is nary a stink to be smelled!

4. I submit that Tea Partiers realize that establishment Republicans are feckless and actually don't care about them. Hence, the Tea Party's existence at the end of Bush's presidency. Yet a disturbing lack of discourse among the other major party can be noticed. I would suggest you vote Green if you want to vote your heart, coasterfan, because that redistribution of wealth to the wealthy (we won't even go into the inevitability of it economically as we're talking about the touchy-feely stuff right now) seems to be consistently voted into by not just the Republicans. So happens there's an article about a farm bill on Page 1.

5. Lastly, if people want to drive around an 18 year old minivan because they don't need anything else or feel compelled to show off their wealth in an obvious manner that is their business and not yours. Your materialistic presumption of a person's livelihood is a quaint holdover from a thankfully bygone day. For the record I have a new 2013 Prius Hybrid.

Here, I suggest reading this book: The Millionaire Next Door (http://www.amazon.com/Millionair...)

I will also draw out another petty comparison you made as we all know Democrats are the big-tent party of compassion and understanding:

"Coasterfan: As I've said before, the only way to quadruple the capacity of a gay bar is to turn the stools upside down."

Wait, that isn't what you said? Oh, let me try...

"Coasterfan: As I've said before, the difference between a Rolling Stone and a Scotsman is the Rolling Stone says "Hey you get offa my cloud" and the Scotsman says "Hey McLeod get offa my ewe"."

That is what you said, right? Just checking.

The Big Dog's back

The Obama years seem to be good for you.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

So is material wealth is indication of success? I'm still in business and for that I am deeply grateful to my customers, community, and the mental faculties I was given and were grown. I let them know that every day.

Especially when I try to help them find jobs, a place to live, direct them to Job & Family to enroll in the programs they need to continue to get by. To support them when they discover they are going to have a baby. To thank them for buying a can of soda from me. So in immaterial ways these "Obama years" have been great for coming together to support one another because there hasn't ever been a greater need (altruism aside).

But for things like my house? Because property values are so cheap, interest rates so low, I was paying the same for a rented apartment and decided to own. My car? The gas and maintenance on my ten year old hatchback made purchasing a new car (not necessarily the one I would have preferred nor with the options I would have liked) actually viable because I would both be saving spike payments on higher fuel/repairs, have ten more years to run it into the ground for personal and business needs, and I was able to save money because...

...I reduced the size of my store to about half of what it was in years past to both cooperate with new tenants who moved in and to save myself half the overhead I was paying because my group of "regulars" has changed for various reasons (including economic ones). That meant less income to my store which for a while had been bleeding costs for reasons I can't begrudge any of my customers.

So there you have it, Big Dog.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

.

tk

So where would all of you be if it weren't for immigration? This ountry is made up of people from all races, colors and creeds. Get used to it. The face of America isn't just old, fat, white men.

Darwin's choice

What part of "illegal" do you agree with?

Absolutely nothing wrong with immigration, the "legal" way!

coasterfan

Nailed it, TK!!! It's kind of the Republican Way, to not allow others to enjoy the freedoms and equal rights that THEY enjoy, while continually lecturing us on the Founding Fathers and the Constitution.

That whole stance is funny, when you consider that our Founding Fathers were the brightest people in the country. They were inventors...Ben Franklin spoke 6 languages. There is absolutely no way that soccer mom would have been invited to discussions with the Framers of the Constitution. I doubt that Palin, Christie, et al, have even seen a foreign film with subtitles. Heck, Bush barely spoke ONE language.

Darwin's choice

You moron, what part of illegal do you agree with?

coasterfan

Darwin: we are all aware of the problem. The current discussion is on what to do about it. They aren't going to self-deport on their own (Romney's inane campaign proposal). They are currently flying under the radar, and not paying any taxes. The smart thing to do - and trust me, since you're a card-carrying conservative, I understand your reluctance to do anything except complain - is to grant them amnesty, so that they become legal Americans, and pay INTO the system.

Unless you're a Native American, your ancestors were immigrants who were granted American citizenry, right?

Darwin's choice

Douchebag! I know the problem exists. Deport them! Load their azzes on a bus and drive it south! Your ignorant if you want to grant amnesty, they've broken the law, you know, like your messiah obama does, and also without repercussion. But then, all those votes your party would loose would be a huge concern for you.

The cost to round them up and ship them home will be fractional compared to the cost of their abuse of the welfare-healthcare-employment systems.
You supposed to be all-knowing, tell us that's not true!

Dr. Information

Tough to pass when Obama wants to lighten to rules for those who have aided terrorists. Anti American, the Obama way.