House Speaker John Boehner mocked his Republican colleagues on Thursday for not taking up immigration reform, according to the The Cincinnati Enquirer.
"Here's the attitude. Ohhhh. Don't make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard," Boehner was quoted as saying, speaking at a lunch event in his Ohio district. Boehner was campaigning ahead of his primary race against three challengers this May.
"We get elected to make choices. We get elected to solve problems, and it's remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don't want to,” he added , speaking with unusual frankness about his own party. “They’ll take the path of least resistance."
Boehner's goading remarks are the latest indication that the speaker is still focused on immigration reform during the election year.
In March, Boehner told donors he is "hellbent on getting this done this year," referring to immigration, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month.
Despite his remarks in support of reform, Boehner has clashed with President Obama for not enforcing existing immigration laws, after the president directed federal authorities to stop deporting so-called DREAMers, young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. while they were still children.
Boehner said he’s been working for more than a year to strike a deal on immigration reform, adding that his own party has resisted his efforts.
"I've had every brick and bat and arrow shot at me over this issue just because I wanted to deal with it. I didn't say it was going to be easy," he said.
The Democrat-controlled Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill last year, creating a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants already in the country. Boehner has said he favors a piecemeal approach to reform, beginning with border security and enforcing existing immigration laws, but he has struggled to get his party behind him. Critics, including an influential anti-immigration lobby, have slammed proposed reforms as amnesty.