by Matthew Boyle 9 Feb 2014, 11:01 AM PDT
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) says she agrees that Republicans can't trust President Obama to enforce the law, but they should immediately move forward on comprehensive immigration reform, anyway.
“Here’s the deal: The status quo is totally unacceptable,” Ayotte said on CBS News’ Face The Nation with Bob Schieffer on Sunday.
Ayotte, who rode the Tea Party wave in 2010 to her election to the Senate but has emerged as one of the upper chamber's more liberal Republicans, conceded there is a "trust deficit" with Obama.
"There’s a trust deficit that the Speaker is facing right now and it’s related to ObamaCare and the disastrous rollout,” she said. “Because, let’s think about it, immigration means doing a lot of complex things well. And in addition to that, the administration keeps issuing executive orders to change the law, very frequently."
However, Ayotte insisted the GOP should move forward anyway.
“I think we should solve this,” she continued. “I think [Boehner] can find a way forward. Certainly, the bill that came out of the Senate was not perfect, but it was a good solution to a hard problem. I think it’s an important issue to solve – not only for the country, but for the Republican Party.”
Thursday, Boehner abruptly hit the brakes on his months-long campaign to resurrect immigration legislation back from the dead, citing a lack of trust by rank-and-file Republicans in Obama's ability to enforce the laws of as written.
Boehner changed tack days after unveiling the House GOP leadership's immigration “principles” that would grant "legal status" to millions of illegal aliens amid pressure from the conservative grassroots and a large swath of his own conference.
Boehner said amnesty was on hold until Republicans can trust he would faithfully implement legal provisions to secure the border, noting the president has aggressively flouted the letter of the law on health care, immigration and other issues -- and is vowing to act unilaterally more often.
Key Republicans opposed to amnesty legislation have said Obama's trustworthiness is not the key issue, arguing immigration legislation would depress the wages of American workers by flooding the labor market with new supply.
“The problem, however, is not limited to one of trust,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said in a statement last week. “Even if the President could be trusted, the Senate Democrat plan he embraces would deliver a hammer blow to working Americans. The President's plan doubles the flow of immigrant workers to compete against unemployed Americans and triples the number of mostly lesser-skilled permanent immigrants granted legal residency over the next decade.”
Ayotte voted for the Senate “Gang of Eight” immigration bill last year despite repeatedly vowing to oppose amnesty when campaigning in 2010.