Both the White House and Hillary Clinton tried to play political ball today with new House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) commitment to not do immigration reform with President Obama, while one of Hillary’s campaign opponents used it as ammo against her.
Ryan told NBC in an interview aired Sunday that “I don’t think we can trust the president on this issue.”
“He tried to go around congress with executive order — absolutely — the president has proven himself untrustworthy on this issue because he tried to unilaterally rewrite the law himself. Presidents don’t write laws, congress does. The president has proven himself to be untrustworthy on this issue,” he said.
He reiterated that on the other Sunday shows, including telling Fox that “it would be a ridiculous notion to try and work on an issue like this with a president we simply cannot trust on this issue.”
“So, that is not in the cards,” Ryan stressed.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Air Force One today that he watched Ryan’s comments “with a healthy sense of irony that apparently is not shared on the other side of the aisle.”
“Then-Congressman Ryan was instrumental in working in a bipartisan fashion on Capitol Hill to produce bipartisan legislation. That bipartisan legislation passed the United States Senate with bipartisan support, and bipartisan legislation would have passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support if Republican leaders in Congress, including Congressman Ryan, hadn’t blocked it coming to the floor,” Earnest said.
“So it’s particularly ironic for Speaker Ryan to make that claim when Speaker Ryan himself was instrumental in putting together the agreement and blocked its consideration even though he knew it would pass. So that’s why it’s particularly ironic to suggest that somehow he now doesn’t trust the president on this issue. It’s preposterous.”
Earnest added that it “certainly is not indicative of the new era of Republican leadership that Speaker Ryan has promised.”
Hillary for America Latino outreach director Lorella Praeli, a DREAMer activist, said in a statement released by the campaign that Ryan “shows the extreme wing of the Republican caucus still controls the agenda in the House.”
“And with all the Republican candidates for president opposed to President Obama’s immigration actions, it is clear the stakes in next year’s elections could not be higher,” Praeli said. “The entire Republican Party continues to play political games with the lives of so many families who consider themselves Americans and want nothing more than to work hard and provide a better life for their family.
Republicans, she added, “continue to be the only obstacle to passing a common sense immigration reform bill through Congress, and as a result, millions of families are living in fear or facing deportation.”
“This must stop. Hillary’s position is clear: she will protect, expand and renew the executive actions of President Obama and will continue to fight for common sense immigration reform.”
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s campaign countered that, though, with a hearty helping of criticism for Clinton.
“It’s easy to slam Republicans, but harder to put forward proactive ideas. And Secretary Clinton still has not put forward any immigration plan whatsoever,” said spokeswoman Gabi Domenzain.
“We cannot allow the fate of millions of families to fall prey to political football or to whims of states’ rights. Secretary Clinton should join Governor O’Malley by proposing a concrete plan to ensure that New Americans will, in fact, be safe in her Administration.”
O’Malley’s immigration plan centers around “bold executive action” including “deferred action to the greatest possible number of new Americans” along with benefits such as healthcare.