No Chance of Immigration Law This Year, Boehner Says
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday dismissed speculation that an immigration bill could clear Congress before the midterm elections, despite efforts in the Senate to do just that.
“There is not a chance that immigration is going to move through the Congress,” Boehner told reporters. “Even the president last night admitted that this wasn’t going to happen.”
On Wednesday night, President Barack Obama told reporters that there may not be “an appetite” for a reform bill in 2010.
Obama’s comments came hours after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (N.J.) floated a summary of a revised outline for immigration legislation.
The package would require that a series of new border security benchmarks be met before broader immigration reforms are enacted — including a legalization process for illegal immigrants, according to a copy of the summary obtained by Roll Call.
Boehner said the sudden debate over immigration was “nothing more than a cynical ploy” to engage segments of the Democratic base.
“I’ve been around here for a little while and know that in the middle of an election year after we’ve had bills like health care shoved down our throats in a process twisted, tortured, pressured, bribed,” he said. “You cannot do a serious piece of legislation this size, with this difficulty in this environment.”
Asked to elaborate on Republican plans for immigration reform, Boehner said only that the legislation would have to be a bipartisan effort.
“I think we ought to have an immigration reform plan move through Congress,” Boehner said. “But you can’t do immigration reform in the middle of a boiling political pot here in Washington, D.C., and secondly, you can’t do it without serious bipartisan conversations and bipartisan discussion.”
John Stanton contributed to this report.