Boehner, speaking in a falsetto voice, theatrically portrayed his version of a House representative opposed to passing one of his GOP-approved immigration bills: “Here's the attitude. ‘Ohhhh. Don’t make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard.’ ”
During his address to the Rotary Club, Boehner berated his Republican House colleagues for avoiding, in his view, the job to which they were elected.
“We get elected to make choices,” said Boehner. “We get elected to solve problems and it’s remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don’t want to.... They’ll take the path of least resistance.”
Boehner told the group he has been working for more than a year to try to push immigration legislation through the House.
“I’ve had every brick and bat and arrow shot at me over this issue just because I wanted to deal with it. I didn’t say it was going to be easy,” he said.
But, as a writer for The Hill noted, despite the blame he cast on his fellow Republicans, Boehner singled out a more likely culprit at Capitol Hill press conferences this year, saying that the reason he has not pursued immigration reform is because President Obama cannot be trusted to enforce the law properly.
The Senate passed the so-called “Gang of Eight” immigration bill last June, but, despite the fact that it was crafted by a bipartisan Senate group, a significant number of House Republicans consider that legislation to be seriously flawed.
The office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was quick to jump on Boehner’s comments with a statement of its own, telling the speaker to “put your money where your mouth is” and allow a vote on a bipartisan immigration reform bill authored by House lawmakers.
“We are confident it will pass,” Pelosi’s office stated.
The House immigration bill that has progressed the furthest (with 199 cosponsors) is H.R. 15, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.” Though described by some as a “bipartisan” bill, when Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida became the bill’s 187th cosponsor last October, she was only the second Republican cosponsor. (California Republican Rep. David Valadao became the third GOP co-sponsor on November 1.)
An article on H.R. 15 posted on VOXXI (a Latino news website) on April 15 revealed the shaky “bipartisan” support for the bill, noting that a total of 191 House members out of a total of 218 signatures needed had signed the discharge petition to force the bill out of committee for a vote. All 191 are Democrats. The writer noted: “No House Republican has announced plans to sign the discharge petition. Not even the three Republican co-sponsors of HR 15 — Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and David Valadao and Jeff Denham of California — have said they will sign it.”
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Photo of Speaker of the House John Boehner: AP Images