Obama praises Democrats' effort to force immigration vote
By Meghashyam Mali | MARCH 26, 2014 AT 11:49 AM
President Obama on Wednesday praised House Democrats for trying to force a vote on immigration reform.
“I applaud the efforts of Democrats in the House to give immigration reform the yes-or-no vote it deserves,” said Obama, who is on a week-long trip to Europe, in a statement.
Democrats are introducing a discharge petition to bypass GOP leaders and bring immigration to a floor vote. The procedural effort is unlikely to succeed as Democrats would need 218 votes -- including the support of over a dozen Republicans.
Obama blamed House Republicans for failing to tackle the issue.
“The only thing standing in the way is the unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to catch up with the rest of the country. And I want to thank the leaders in Congress who are doing their part to move us forward,” he said.
Immigration reform is one of Obama's second term priorities, but despite a bipartisan bill passing the Senate last year, the issue has stalled in the GOP-controlled House.
Conservative lawmakers are opposed to a comprehensive package and say the focus should first be on securing the nation's border.
Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, pulled the plug on immigration reform earlier this year, saying that Republicans did not trust Obama to enforce tougher border security measures.
“Immigration reform is the right thing to do for our economy, our security, and our future. A vast majority of the American people agree,” said Obama.