House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is banking on President Obama’s trustworthiness numbers — poll ratings that plunged after the Obamacare rollout — to keep immigration reform out of the GOP playbook heading into midterm elections.
“As you all know, for the last 15 months, I’ve talked about the need to get immigration reform done,” Boehner told reporters today at his weekly press conference. “This is an important issue in our country. It’s been kicked around forever, and it needs to be dealt with.”
“Having said that, we outlined our principles last week to our members, principles that our members by-and-large support. It was put together by the leadership team, and they believe it,” he continued. “But I’ve never underestimated the difficulty in moving forward this year. The reason I’ve said that we need a step-by-step, common-sense approach to this is so we can build trust with the American people that we’re doing this the right way.”
Boehner added that “frankly, one of the biggest obstacles we face is the one of trust.”
“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,” the speaker said. “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. He keeps talking about his phone and his pen.”
“And he’s feeding more distrust about whether he is committed to the rule of law.”
Boehner stressed that “there’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws.”
“It’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes,” he said.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said after Boehner’s remarks that they “remain optimistic about the prospects for comprehensive immigration reform in 2014.”
“There’s no alternative to comprehensive immigration reform passing through Congress. It requires legislation. And the president’s made that clear in the past, and that continues to be his view. That’s why we need to work together, to build on the existing bipartisan consensus, to see it help deliver a bill through the House and then a bill that can ultimately reach the president’s desk,” Carney continued.
“Look, I think that the challenges within the Republican Party on this issue are well-known and they certainly don’t have anything to do with the president. But as I noted before, the progress has been significant. I think that there is a genuine recognition among leaders in the Republican Party that this is the right thing to do for our economy. It’s the right thing to do for our middle class. It’s the right thing to do for our businesses.”
When pressed on the trustworthiness of Obama, Carney said, “I think that the president’s record on border security has been well documented and has been testified to by Democrats and Republicans.”