John Boehner: We Don’t Trust Obama Enough to Push Forward on Immigration

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 28: House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) walks away after speaking to the media after attending the weekly House Republican conference at the U.S. Capitol January 28, 2014 in Washington, DC. Speaker Boehner spoke on various issues including tonight's State of the Union speech by U.S. President Barack Obama.
National Journal
Matt Berman
Feb. 6, 2014, 7:14 a.m.

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House Speak­er John Boehner put a big dent in any re­main­ing hope for im­mig­ra­tion re­form this year at his Thursday morn­ing press­er.

“One of the biggest obstacles we face is the one of trust,” Boehner said. “The Amer­ic­an people, in­clud­ing many of my mem­bers, don’t trust that the re­form that we’re talk­ing about would be im­ple­men­ted as it’s in­ten­ded to be.”

Say­ing that Pres­id­ent Obama makes changes to the Af­ford­able Care Act “on a whim, whenev­er he likes,” the speak­er said he and his caucus har­bor “wide­spread doubt about wheth­er this ad­min­is­tra­tion can be trus­ted to en­force our laws. And it’s go­ing to be dif­fi­cult to move any im­mig­ra­tion le­gis­la­tion un­til that changes.”

Last week, the House GOP rolled out a draft of im­mig­ra­tion prin­ciples at its an­nu­al re­treat. The prin­ciples gave some hope to im­mig­ra­tion-re­form ad­voc­ates that something could ac­tu­ally get done this year, es­pe­cially with Re­pub­lic­ans seem­ingly open to giv­ing leg­al status (but not cit­izen­ship) for im­mig­rants liv­ing in the U.S. il­leg­ally. On Thursday, Boehner said that the set of sug­ges­tions are “prin­ciples that our mem­bers by and large sup­port.”

It’s not at all clear what, if any­thing, the White House could ac­tu­ally do to fix the trust prob­lem. And it’s en­tirely pos­sible that “trust” is just a con­veni­ent cov­er for something to the ef­fect that, “The draft prin­ciples didn’t really go over well with the caucus, we don’t have the votes, but we’d like to pin the blame for stale­mate on someone else.” But re­gard­less of what’s be­hind it, the new at­ti­tude could make it very tough for any­thing to hap­pen this year.

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