The Tea Party “spooked” House Speaker John Boehner “into cowering in a corner” to avoid taking on immigration reform, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) charges.
“Our broken immigration system is one of the biggest challenges we face as a nation and Speaker Boehner knows that addressing it is the right thing to do, yet the Tea Party spooked him into cowering in a corner,” Reid said in a statement. “Instead of working with Democrats to forge bipartisan solutions, Speaker Boehner has sunk to suing the President and wasting taxpayer money in a transparent attempt to appease the Tea Party.”
On Monday, President Obama announced that, given congressional intransigence, he would be taking administrative action on immigration reform “on my own, without Congress.”
Obama also pointed to the Tea Party as a pressure point that deterred House Republicans from moving on immigration reform.
“Our country and our economy would be stronger today if House Republicans had allowed a simple yes-or-no vote on this bill or, for that matter, any bill. They’d be following the will of the majority of the American people who support reform,” Obama said in his Rose Garden announcement. “Instead, they’ve proven again and again that they’re unwilling to stand up to the tea party in order to do what’s best for the country. And the worst part about it is a bunch of them know better.”
Obama added that Boehner told him in a conversation last week that House Republicans would not vote on immigration reform this year. Boehner responded by saying he told Obama that he is not trusted to enforce the law.
“In our conversation last week, I told the president what I have been telling him for months: the American people and their elected officials don’t trust him to enforce the law as written,” Boehner said. “Until that changes, it is going to be difficult to make progress on this issue.”
According to Reid, Obama is right to go at it alone.
“With no prospect for reform in the Republican-led House, the choice is between taking action and letting hard-working families continue to be torn apart,” Reid said. “President Obama is right to take action to protect families by asking Secretary Johnson and Attorney General Holder to look at what he can do within his administrative authority.”