"I've never underestimated the difficulty in moving forward this
year," Boehner said at his weekly news conference.
House Republicans have been deeply divided on the issue, and at a
retreat in Cambridge, Maryland, last week, several said it would be
a mistake to take up immigration legislation before the November
Instead, Republicans said they wanted to focus on legislation to
replace Obama's healthcare law, which many see as a powerful
campaign theme for defeating Democrats.
"One of the biggest obstacles that we face" in advancing immigration
legislation, Boehner said, was a lack of trust in Obama to implement
any law that might be enacted "as it is intended to be."
As evidence of that, Boehner accused Obama of changing "the
healthcare law on a whim, whenever he likes." He added, "It's going
to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that
(mistrust of Obama) changes."
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, asked at a press conference
about Boehner's remarks, said, "That's an excuse not to do it. And
around here you have to always differentiate between what is a
reason and what is an excuse."
At last week's House Republican retreat, Boehner and other House
leaders floated a set of principles for immigration reform
legislation, which was seen as a way of gauging the interest of his
rank-and-file in debating bills this year.
[to top of second column]
Several lawmakers and aides later told reporters that there were
deep divisions among the House Republicans.
The principles included granting legal status to some of the 11
million immigrants now living illegally in the United States.
Last June, the Senate passed a comprehensive bill that would both
provide a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally and
tighten border security. The bill stalled in the House, where many
oppose offering legal status for millions of adults who live in the
United States unlawfully.
(Reporting by Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell;
editing by David
Storey and Leslie Adler)
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