Boehner Warns Obama Not to 'Burn Himself' on Immigration Reform
House Speaker John Boehner warned today that executive action by President Obama on immigration reform would eliminate any chance of an overhaul bill and damage the nascent relationship between Republicans and Democrats before the new Congress even takes office.
"I believe that if the president continues to act on his own, he is going to poison the well," Boehner, R-Ohio, said during a news conference at the Capitol today. "When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself, and he's going to burn himself if he continues to go down this path."
In early September, Obama said he would delay executive action on immigration reform until after the election. One action he could take is to extend his 2012 executive action called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative, which kept children of undocumented immigrants from being deported if they were under age 30 and brought here before 2007.
"The American people made it clear Election Day: They want to get things done, and they don't want the president acting on a unilateral basis," Boehner added.
Although Boehner reiterated he believes it's time to reform the country's immigration laws, he would not commit to a House vote next year, even if the president agreed to delay executive action during the lame duck session of Congress.
"It is time for the Congress of the United States to deal with a very difficult issue in our society," Boehner said. "This immigration issue has become a political football over the last 10 years or more. It's just time to deal with it."
Boehner's conference will grow by at least 13 seats, pushing the GOP's majority to its largest since 1929, but he rejected the notion that it might inspire some of his more conservative colleagues to overplay their hand.
"My job's not to get along with the president just to get along with him," Boehner said. "The fact is, my job is listening to my members and listening to the American people and make their priorities our priorities."
The House is set to reconvene Nov. 12 to begin the 15-day lame duck session of Congress.