Politics

Boehner Suggests Immigration Reform Unlikely In 2014

House Speaker John Boehner told reporters Thursday passing an immigration reform bill in 2014 would be difficult.

Boehner Suggests Immigration Reform Unlikely In 2014
Flickr / Gage Skidmore
SMS

If you're looking for immigration reform this year, don't look to John Boehner. The House Speaker signaled Thursday 2014 might not be the right year for the House to consider passing a reform bill. 

"There's 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 forward until that changes." (Via C-SPAN)

Boehner's announcement comes just one week after he announced a list of principles for passing immigration reform, a move which had many reform advocates hoping a compromise bill could be around the corner. (Via The New York Times)

"This problem's been around for at least the last 15 years, it's been turned into a political football. I think it's unfair. So I think it's time to deal with it." (Via Bloomberg)

So, why is Boehner suddenly backing away from immigration reform? A CNN analyst says one reason is Republicans are having a hard time deciding what they want in a reform bill.

"There is no agreement inside the Republican Party about how to best reform immigration. There are some Republicans who would say, 'Ok, we do want a path to citizenship' and there are others who say, 'Absolutely not.'"

And Time notes many Republicans were worried about pushing such a controversial issue during an election year. "Too many members worried that potential Tea Party primary opponents, or Democrats in November, could use their votes on immigration against them."

Of course, Boehner's reversal is drawing some fire from across the aisle. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz accused Boehner of playing games with the issue on MSNBC Thursday.

"What they're doing here is just trying to delay and draw this out and pretend they are committed to the priniciples of comprehensive immigration reform."

And a writer for The Daily Beast worries Boehner's willingness to abandon the immigration reform debate could signal a return of the "do-nothing" Congress of 2013.

"While it was unlikely that immigration reform legislation would be passed this year, it's surprising that Boehner essentially punted on this major policy initiative so early in the year. ... The House Speaker seemed to concede that little legislation of consequence would stand any chance [of] being enacted."

Boehner also said Thursday his party was still looking for a way to resolve the upcoming debt ceiling debate, but would not let the country default on its debt.