Obama: I ‘Didn’t Have the Votes’ for Immigration Reform, Even with Supermajority

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Obama defended his decision not to pass comprehensive immigration reform in his first term, when Democrats held majorities in both houses of Congress — including a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

During an immigration town hall in Miami, MSNBC host Jose Diaz-Balart asked Obama why he didn’t fight harder for immigration reform in the early days of his administration.

Obama insisted that he was too focused on solving the financial crisis and getting Obamacare passed.

“It wasn’t like I was sitting back not doing anything,” he said. “We were moving aggressively on a whole host of issues.”

He explained that although he wanted to get immigration reform done, he “didn’t have the votes,” and argued that he pushed on the issue.

“I don’t regret having done the ACA,” he said, referring to Obamacare.

“If the question is would I have loved to have gotten everything done in the first two years, absolutely, because then in the next six years I could have relaxed,” he said.