Armed with a video camera, two immigrant teens ambushed House Speaker John Boehner as he ordered breakfast at his favorite Capitol Hill diner Wednesday morning, questioning him about the possibility of comprehensive immigration reform.
The Ohio Republican remained non-committal to Carmen Lima, 13, and Jennifer Martinez, 16, at Pete’s Diner, according to The Hill.
“I’m trying to find a way to get this thing done,” he said. “It’s, as you know, not easy. It’s not going to be an easy path forward, but I’ve made it clear since the day after the election that it’s time to get this done.”
The two-minute video has since been posted on Fair Immigration Reform Movement, which supports a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who arrived in America illegally.
The Senate voted for a comprehensive immigration reform bill in June and sent it to the House for approval. But Boehner has made it clear in private conversations that he favors a more piecemeal approach.
After his conversation with the teens, the speaker reiterated – this time publicly — his intention to take up immigration reform step by step, The Hill reported in a separate post.
“The idea that we’re going to take up a 1,300-page bill that no one had ever read, which is what the Senate did, is not going to happen in the House,” he said. “And frankly, I’ll make clear we have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill.”
Although this shouldn’t be news to anyone, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pretended to be stunned.
“This House of Representatives might just as well not exist,” Reid told Fusion TV. “They don’t do anything.”
The speaker is also receiving some push back from members of his own party.
“I urge Speaker Boehner to remain open to any options that allow us to solve this crucial issue,” Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla. said in a statement, The Hill reported.
“I’ve lost patience a long time ago,” he said. “Not with leadership, but I just realize this is a very difficult task. And again, time is very short, and at this stage, I just want to make sure we don’t tie our hands any longer.”
Boehner’s public stance on the issue was welcomed by conservative House members.
“Today’s announcement is an important and positive development for our nation, our people, and the Republican party,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., told The Hill. “House Republicans are resisting an influence campaign and standing for the interests of the American people.”
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