Despite the lack of action on immigration reform, House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that no one wants to address the issue more than he does.
Fusion’s Jorge Ramos grilled Boehner (R-Ohio) at his weekly press conference about why he is “blocking” immigration reform almost a year after the Senate passed a sweeping bill that offers a path to citizenship to immigrants who crossed the border illegally or overstayed their visa.
Boehner said Republicans don’t trust President Obama to properly an enforce an immigration law they pass, citing multiple exemptions the president made to his signature healthcare law.
“Since when does Obamacare have to do with immigration reform?” Ramos asked. “The Senate passed [immigration reform] almost a year ago, and you haven’t moved on that.”
“I just gave you an answer,” Boehner replied. “There’s nobody more interested in fixing this problem than I am.”
Obama and Democratic lawmakers still believe there is a narrow window for the GOP-controlled House to pass an immigration bill before Congress breaks for August recess. That’s despite the fact House leaders have not let even measures more limited than the Senate bill reach the floor for a vote.
The president has been under pressure from reform advocates to act unilaterally to ease the record number of deportations his administration has overseen. Democrats, in turn, have urged advocates to keep their attention on Congress.
“We hear that some Republicans think that reform is a tough issue, but it shouldn’t be — the overwhelming majority of Americans support it and if House leadership would allow a vote, it would receive a broad bipartisan vote of support,” a White House official said in an email to Fusion. “There is no excuse for House Republicans to continue to delay action on this bipartisan proposal.”
Ramos asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) at a press conference on the other side of the Capitol whether Democrats were giving supporters of reform false hope that a bill could pass and why he isn’t pressuring Obama to cut back on deportations.
“We waited 329 days; we’re willing to wait another six weeks, but at the end of six weeks, if something hasn’t been done, then there’s going to have to be a move made,” Reid said regarding deportations.
Back on the House side, Ramos told Boehner that when it comes to passing a bill, “you can do it, and you really haven’t done it.”
“I appreciate your opinion. Thank you,” Boehner said.
This piece was updated to include a statement from the White House.