At a Capitol Hill press conference yesterday, a reporter asked House Speaker John Boehner about taking a "hands-off approach on immigration." The Ohio Republican rejected the premise of the question and responded with a curious boast.
For those who can't watch clips online, the Speaker said:
"Nobody's spent more time trying to fix a broken immigration system than I have. I talked about the day after the election and I've talked about it a hundred times since."And while some may disagree about how we're going about fixing the broken immigration system, it's been a big goal of mine. Now, we believe that a common sense, step-by-step approach to addressing this problem makes a lot more sense than one big, massive comprehensive bill."
What a complete mess. For one thing, if Boehner thinks "nobody" has worked more on immigration than him, he's even further gone than I thought. The poor guy can't bring a bill to the floor or even state a personal opinion on key parts of the debate.
For another, the Speaker really shouldn't bring up what he "talked about the day after the election" -- that's when he endorsed a "comprehensive" solution that he later abandoned when his right-wing caucus told him to.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters yesterday, "The president believes that we have to address this in a comprehensive way. That is the right thing to do. And the idea that you can, oh, I don't know, declare yourself to have been more committed than anyone to improve our immigration system and then have nothing to show for it is a little laughable."
Boehner can prove his detractors wrong pretty easily: he can do what he said he would do and bring a comprehensive bill to the floor.