President Barack Obama said his “number-one priority” is signing a comprehensive immigration reform bill this year and called on House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) to bring an immigration bill to the floor.
In a Tuesday interview with Jose Diaz-Balart on Telemundo, the Spanish-language television network, Obama also claimed that a “majority of the American public” want and are “committed to immigration reform and support a pathway to citizenship for those who don’t have it.”
“We’ve got a bill that passed with… strong bipartisan support in the Senate,” Obama said. “You’ve got a president who says that this is a number-one priority, and he can’t wait to sign a comprehensive immigration reform bill.”
When Diaz-Balart mentioned that there were only 35 legislative days left in Congress this year and asked whether immigration reform was dead, Obama replied, “It shouldn’t be.”
“The only thing that’s holding it back right now is John Boehner calling it to the floor because we’ve got a majority of members of Congress–Democrats and some Republicans–in the House of Representatives who would vote for it right now if it hits,” he expounded. “So this is really a question that should be directed to Mr. John Boehner. What’s stopping him from going ahead and calling that bill?”
Obama said Boehner “shouldn’t be afraid of majority opinion on this.”
“Why not go ahead and let it come to the floor of the House and let’s see what happens,” the President suggested.
Just one day before–while marking the five-year anniversary of the financial crisis and speaking after the tragic Navy Yard shootings in Washington, D.C.–Obama mentioned a different “number-one priority”:
I want to be clear, though, that even as we’ve dealt with the situation in Syria, we’ve continued to focus on my number-one priority since the day I took office: making sure we recover from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes and rebuilding our economy so it works for everybody who is willing to work hard–so that everybody who is willing to take responsibility for their lives has a chance to get ahead.
The Congressional Budget Office determined that the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill would actually lower the wages of American workers who are still trying to recover from an economy that faltered five years ago.