President Barack Obama is willing to assist in legislation to benefit Republicans politically, White House press secretary Jay Carney said – speaking of immigration reform.
"It's good for the country, it's good for the economy, it's good for the middle class, it's good for business, and it would be good for the Republican party," Carney told reporters Wednesday during the White House press briefing. "I now that you know that every Republican leader you talk to agrees with that. The president is more than willing to assist in delivering that benefit – we're talking about politics – to the Republican party."
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney answers a question during his daily news briefing at the White House in Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. Carney fielded questions on a variety of topics including immigration, healthcare and human rights. AP
On the day that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the House would not consider the Senate immigration bill that passed in June, Obama met with faith leaders at the White House who favor a “pathway to citizenship” for the more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. The bill would also increasing border security.
“What the House could do, this week, is take up their own comprehensive immigration bill,” Carney said Wednesday, noting that Boehner did not rule out a separate House bill. “There is one the House Democrats put forward that reflects the president's principles, that reflects the principles of the bipartisan Senate bill and that we strongly believe would pass the House with substantial majority support from both parties if the speaker would bring it to a vote.”
Opponents of the legislation call the bill “amnesty.” Many in the GOP fear that legalizing millions of new immigrants would mean generations of Democratic voters.
Boehner said the House won't vote on the Senate legislation, but said Republican will determine what principles they can agree on for immigration reform.
“The idea that we’re going to take up a 1,300-page bill that no one had ever read, which is what the Senate did, is not going to happen in the House and frankly I’ll make clear we have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill,” Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
At the White House, Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other administration officials met with pastors from across the nation.
“The President and the leaders discussed their shared commitment to raise the moral imperative for immigration reform and said they will continue keeping the pressure on Congress so they can swiftly pass commonsense reform,” said the White House readout of the meeting. “The President commended the faith leaders for their tireless efforts in sharing their stories with Congress. He noted there is no reason for House Republicans to continue to delay action on this issue that has garnered bipartisan support.”
The faith leaders in attendance at the White House were Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Eusebio Elizondo, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Seattle; Joel Hunter, senior pastor at Northland Church in Orlando, Fla.; Hyepin Im, CEO of Korean Churches for Community Development in Los Angeles; Mike McClenahan, senior pastor at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church in Solana Beach, Calif.; Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission in Nashville, Tenn.; Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of theNational Latino Evangelical Coalition and Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners.