By Justin Sink - 05/16/14 10:13 AM EDT
White House aide Valerie Jarrett is clarifying remarks that suggested Speaker John Boehner had committed to moving immigration reform this summer.
Jarrett said her comments at an event in Las Vegas were “lost in translation.”
“I said Boehner has made [a] commitment to trying, not that he has made [a] commitment to us or [a] time frame,” Jarrett said in a message posted on Twitter on Friday.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>.@chucktodd
lost in translation-- I said Boehner has made commitment to trying, not that he has made commitment to us or time frame.</p>— Valerie Jarrett (@vj44) May 16, 2014
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Jarrett during a forum in Las Vegas on Thursday said she believed House Republicans would move forward with a bill.
“I think we have a window this summer, between now and August, to get something done,” Jarrett said, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal. “We have a commitment from Speaker Boehner, who’s very frustrated with his caucus.
Some interpreted Jarrett’s comments as an indication that Boehner had promised the White House he’d hold a vote on immigration reform legislation before the midterm elections.
Boehner’s every move on immigration is under close scrutiny.
Boehner has called the legislation a priority, and last month made headlines when he mocked conservative members of his caucus who have opposed the legislation. The Ohio lawmaker also raised eyebrows when he told a closed-door meeting with donors he was “hellbent” on advancing legislation.
The speaker subsequently insisted that he was only teasing his colleagues, and reiterated that the House would not vote on a comprehensive bill that passed the Senate last year. Boehner has also said that members of his caucus were wary of President Obama, and that the president had to convince Republicans he would enforce border security for immigration reform to move.
That sentiment was echoed by Boehner spokesman Michael Steel when he was asked to respond to Jarrett's comments in Las Vegas.
“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,” Steel said Friday.
Jarrett’s comments are also closely scrutinized since she is seen as being one of the closest advisers and friends to President Obama and the first lady.
She appeared optimistic that immigration reform legislation could move forward before the midterm elections, and said the White House was open to a variety of legislative approaches.
“There’s a lot of ways to skin a cat,” Jarrett said. “I feel very encouraged about immigration reform. I think you’re going to see mounting pressure.”