House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said that he wants to get amnesty legislation done this year even as he insisted that the immigration reform he and President Barack Obama discussed in their White House meeting was not “amnesty.”
Boehner recently said that he and Obama agreed the most on immigration during their recent one-on-one meeting and both want legislation this year, which amnesty advocates believe may be the last chance to pass significant immigration reform. Obama said he would not sign a bill that does not have a pathway to citizenship in it or that creates two classes of people in the United States.
“He wants to get it done. I want to get it done,” Boehner told Cincinnati.com on Monday. “But he’s going to have to help us in this process.”
After the House GOP leadership released its immigration principles document, those like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) blasted it as amnesty, halting any momentum it may have had. GOP leaders in both chambers then said that they would not go forward with immigration reform until President Barack Obama convinced them that he could be trusted to enforce any new laws. Boehner’s comments may give more credence to the belief that that was just a head fake to secure the potential votes of Republicans on the fence.
Boehner also said that providing illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship, which the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages of American workers, is not amnesty.
“Some want to call it amnesty,” Boehner said. “I reject that premise… If you come in and plead guilty and pay a fine, that’s not amnesty.”
However, as Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) noted in his “Myth vs. Fact” document that he passed around to House Republicans to combat the spin from the House GOP leadership, “any plan that provides special privileges to those who are in the country today but does not extend the same privileges to those coming into the country illegally tomorrow is amnesty.” That is exactly what the Senate’s immigration bill that passed last year and the House’s immigration principles do.
Boehner also said he expected to be re-elected as Speaker easily but stopped short of guaranteeing that he would complete his next term, saying, “I fully expect to serve.” As Breitbart News reported, Boehner recently purchased a condo in Florida, prompting rumors that he may retire and have less to worry about in pushing amnesty legislation against the wishes of his base.