President Barack Obama’s top adviser and confidant told a group of global elites on Thursday in Las Vegas, Nevada that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has made a commitment to the White House to try to pass amnesty legislation this year.
After hailing the Senate’s amnesty bill that the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages of American workers, Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s senior advisor, told attendees at the yearly invitation-only SkyBridge Alternatives Conference that Boehner would help the White House make a push get immigration reform enacted in the next three months.
“I think we have a window this summer, between now and August, to get something done,” Jarrett said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We have a commitment from Speaker Boehner, who’s very frustrated with his caucus.”
Addressing attendees at an event described as conference where “investors and elite political donors” along with “hedge fund managers, political and business leaders and celebrities” can “speak freely,” Jarrett said that the Senate’s bill would pass in the House if Republicans brought it to the floor.
Jarrett, echoing the sentiments of Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who has said that Democrats would want a piecemeal approach to immigration reform if they get all of the pieces of the Senate bill, said that there were “a lot of ways to skin a cat” and that there would be “mounting pressure” on amnesty legislation in the coming months. She also reportedly claimed the high-tech industry needed more “educated workers” even though numerous studies have debunked the myth that there is a shortage of American high-tech workers.
The Senate’s bill would double and possibly triple the number of H1-B visas that high-tech lobbying groups like Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us covet even though American colleges and universities graduate more workers in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields than there are job openings. In addition, illegal immigrants put on a path to citizenship and given work visas could qualify for any job, which would reduce the opportunities for Americans on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.
Boehner, who hired Sen. John McCain’s top amnesty adviser at the end of the last year, has previously told fundraisers in Las Vegas that he was “hellbent” on getting amnesty legislation done this year and then mocked conservative opponents of amnesty at an event in his Ohio district. Boehner also said that when he and Obama agreed the most on amnesty legislation when they met at the White House in February of this year. Obama also indicated this week that there were only “two to three months” to get amnesty legislation enacted this year.
House GOP leaders like Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the GOP Conference Chair, have also floated an August deadline to get legislation on the House floor while business executives have said they thought amnesty legislation would be the“final act” of the lame-duck session. Even if Congress is pressured not to act on immigration legislation this year, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and GOP leaders said on Wednesday that Republicans in the Senate would “absolutely” try to pass amnesty legislation again in the next Congress if Republicans win back the Senate in November.