Reid 'stunned' by Boehner on immigration

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) chided Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for his refusal to negotiate with the Senate on immigration reform.

“I'm stunned,” Reid said in an interview Wednesday with Fusion, a joint venture by ABC News and Univision. “How could anybody in good conscience tell one group he's trying to do immigration reform, and a few minutes later, say 'I'm not going to do anything about a conference?' " 

Earlier in the day, Boehner reiterated what he’s said before on immigration reform: “I'll make clear we have no intention ever of going to conference on the Senate bill."

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His comments confirmed the House will not take up the issue this year, which President Obama and Democrats have pressed for. Last week, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also ruled it out for 2013, arguing there are too few legislative days remaining in this session.

"This is about trying to do this in a way that the American people and our members can absorb," Boehner said, arguing the immigration system is too complex to address quickly. 

In the morning, a group of teenagers approached Boehner at a Capitol Hill diner and questioned why the Speaker wouldn’t act on immigration. Their family members, they said, have previously faced deportation. 

“I’m trying to find a way to get this thing done. It’s, as you know, not easy. It’s not going to be an easy path forward, but I’ve made it clear since the day after the election that it’s time to get this done,” Boehner said. A video of the exchange was recorded.

Reid accused Boehner of sending mixed signals, Fusion reports.

"I mean, this House of Representatives might just as well not exist,” he said. “They don't do anything.” 

The Senate passed the Gang of Eight legislation in June, but Boehner has since rejected that measure’s reforms.

Reid said he’s open to negotiating with Boehner if the House passes piece-meal legislation addressing immigration-related issues individually.

"I don't like it,” he said. “But if they pass something, we can at least go to conference.”