House Speaker John Boehner pushed back on remarks by Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Barack Obama, with an aide telling Newsmax on Friday that no “commitment” exists between the Ohio Republican and the White House on passing immigration reform legislation after the summer primary elections.
“Republicans are committed to reforming our immigration system, but as the speaker has said repeatedly, it’s difficult to see how we make progress until the American people have faith that President Obama will enforce the law as written,” a spokesman Michael Steel told Newsmax in a statement.
In remarks made by Jarrett at the SkyBirdge Alternatives Conference in Las Vegas, that Boehner’s support comes amid strong opposition from other GOP representatives, particularly those backed by the tea party.
Boehner may opt for multiple bills rather than a single, Jarret said, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports, adding that the White House supported either approach.
Jarrett characterized Boehner as expressing that he’s “very frustrated with his caucus.” The event is an annual gathering of hedge fund managers, executives, and political leaders.
“There’re a lot of ways to skin a cat,” Jarret said, according to the Review-Journal. “I feel very encouraged about immigration reform. I think you’re going to see mounting pressure.”
But on Friday, Jarrett herself backed off her comments, saying on Twitter: “lost in translation – I said Boehner has made commitment to trying, not that he has made commitment to us or time frame.”
The New York Times reported late last month that Boehner might seek to pass immigration reform in the House, but cautioned that Obama must work to win back the trust of a wary Congress and American public.
“The biggest impediment we have in moving immigration reform is that the American people don’t trust the president to enforce or implement the law that we may or may not pass,” Boehner said at the time.
Last year, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a sweeping immigration bill that included a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants.
Boehner said shortly thereafter that the House would not take an “Obamacare-like” approach to immigration reform.
“House Republicans affirmed that rather than take up the flawed legislation rushed through the Senate, House committees will continue their work on a step-by-step, common-sense approach to fixing what has long been a broken system,” Boehner said in a statement that was endorsed by other Republican leaders.
“The American people want our border secured, our laws enforced, and the problems in our immigration system fixed to strengthen our economy,” the statement said. “But they don’t trust a Democratic-controlled Washington – and they’re alarmed by the president’s ongoing insistence on enacting a single, massive, Obamacare-like bill rather than pursuing a step-by-step, common-sense approach to actually fix the problem.”