John Boehner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, has come under fire for comments made on Friday in which he mocked his own lawmakers in the Republican Party over their reluctance to start dealing with legislation for immigration reform. His comments have rekindled debate on the contentious issue in election year even as President Obama contemplates taking executive action.
At a Rotary Club lunch in his home state of Ohio on Thursday, Boehner said that Republicans in the House of Representatives do not have the stomach to take on the issue of immigration reform because it is just too difficult for them. “Oh don’t make me do this, oh this is too hard”, Boehner is quoted as saying in a parody of them whining in protest at being asked to deal with the issue.
Neither Democrats nor advocates for immigration reform were impressed with the display, pointing out that it is the Speaker’s job to force the issue to be voted on in the House of Representatives and that he should not be blaming others for his failure to do so. “He’s acting like he’s not the Speaker of the House”, noted immigration advocacy group America’s Voice’s deputy director, Lynn Tramonte.
Equally unimpressed were conservatives, Representative Raul Labrador again laying the blame for Republicans failing to step up to the issue on President Obama rather than his own party and telling Boehner that he needs to stand up for Republicans in the House instead of catering to the interests of the media and special interest groups.