This time, Obama focused on reform’s economic impacts, saying it would “provide a big boost to our recovery.”
On Wednesday, the White House released a 34-page report promoting the economic benefits of comprehensive reform. Last month, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that the Senate’s plan would boost the economy and lower the deficit, upping GDP by 3.3 percent within 10 years and lowering deficits by $197 billion. Republicans who voted against the Senate bill have pointed to a drop in average wages detailed in the same CBO report.
The Senate passed its immigration bill, which includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, by a 68 to 32 margin June 27.
Prospects for that bill appear dim in the House, where Republicans remain opposed to the Senate’s plan, and where House Speaker John Boehner has declined to bring it to the floor for a vote. On Wednesday, House Republicans met to discuss immigration, and after their meeting GOP leaders voiced opposition to a comprehensive bill, preferring a “step-by-step” series of bills on border security and the immigration system.
Nevertheless, Obama argued for changes in the country’s immigration policies.
“Immigration reform would make it easier for highly-skilled immigrants and those who study at our colleges and universities to start businesses and create jobs right here in America. Foreign companies would be more likely to invest here. The demand for goods and services would go up – creating more jobs for American workers. Every worker and business would be required to pay their fair share in taxes, reducing our deficit by nearly $850 billion over the next two decades,” Obama said in his radio address.
The president also called out his predecessor, president George W. Bush, who spoke briefly in favor of immigration reform on Wednesday during a swearing-in ceremony for newly naturalized citizens at his presidential library in Dallas. In 2007 Bush pressed Congress to pass a comprehensive reform bill, including a pathway to citizenship.
“I think he gave a very good speech this past week expressing his hope that a bipartisan, comprehensive bill can become law,” Obama said. “If Democrats and Republicans–including President Bush and I–can agree on something, that’s a pretty good place to start.”