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Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Tuesday called on President Barack Obama to come up with a comprehensive immigration plan this year, saying a directive from the White House is the only way to push the complex issue forward.
What we need is not another photo op at the White House. What we need now is a plan from the president, said Cornyn, ranking member on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security.
The president doesnt write legislation, but he does have the bully pulpit, Cornyn said, adding that right now its unclear how they can get it finished.
Cornyn is one of several lawmakers who will meet with administration officials Thursday to discuss immigration policy. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs acknowledged Monday that time may run out this year before the administration and Congress already spread thin with health care and climate change legislation can take up yet another time-consuming and sweeping proposal.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) echoed those concerns: Weve got a full plate already.
Theres been little discussion from our side on immigration reform. Ive honestly not given it a lot of thought, McConnell said.
But Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reiterated his call for doing a comprehensive immigration reform bill this year.
We have to finish health care and climate change, but being third on the list is pretty good, Reid said, predicting that he could muster up the votes for a bill later this year.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who chairs the immigration subpanel, will deliver an address on immigration at Georgetown University on Wednesday and is expected to outline the principles that will guide legislation he intends to introduce in the Senate later this year, according to a release.
Schumer will also attend the White House meeting Thursday.