Boehner 'confident' GOP, Obama can reach deal on immigration reform

Speaker John Boehner said Thursday he was "confident" Republicans could agree to a comprehensive immigration bill. 

Boehner (R-Ohio) made the comment in an interview with ABC News, released two days after President Obama's decisive reelection victory over Mitt Romney. 

Obama's win was fueled by Hispanic voters, who made up a larger portion of the electorate than they did four years ago and voted overwhelmingly for Obama. The president won Latino voters by 44 points, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. 

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The defeat and those figures have triggered a round of soul-searching by Republicans. 

Boehner offered optimism that his party could come to an agreement with Obama on immigration, a subject that has hurt the GOP with Hispanic voters.

"This issue has been around far too long," Boehner said in the ABC interview. "A comprehensive approach is long overdue, and I'm confident that the president, myself, others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all."

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Senate Immigration, Refugees and Border Security Judiciary subcommittee, called Boehner's comments a "breakthrough."

"Democrats in the Senate look forward to working with him to come up with a bipartisan solution,” Schumer said in a statement.

The president has said that immigration reform would be a top priority if he were elected to a second term. 

In a late October interview with the Des Moines Register, Obama suggested Republicans would need to work with him on the issue for fear they would otherwise be abandoned by Hispanic voters. 

Tough stances against illegal immigration taken by many Republicans — such as an Arizona state law that pitted Obama's administration against Gov. Jan Brewer in the Supreme Court — appear to be hurting the party with Hispanics. 

Obama also helped himself with the Hispanic population with a decision to end deportations of people who entered the U.S. illegally as children. 

Speculation was high even before the election that immigration reform would be tackled in a second Obama term. 

Boehner also weighed in on the Obama administration's healthcare reform law and the Tea Party in the interview with ABC News. On healthcare, Boehner said that there would be no more major efforts to repeal the law. Boehner also denied the idea that the Tea Party wing of the GOP has been the dominant influence within his caucus. 

Boehner was also asked whether Republicans currently have a problem attracting women and minorities.

"What Republicans need to learn is how do we speak to all Americans. You know, not just the people who look like us and act like us, but how do we speak to all Americans?" Boehner said.

"Listen, we believe in the American dream. We believe in individual freedom, and we believe in empowering all citizens. I think there's a message there that resonates with all Americans, but we need to do a much more effective job in communicating it."

Boehner said he went to bed at around 11:15 after it became clear that Obama would win reelection. 

"I may not like the five cards that have been dealt to me, but those are the cards I've got in my hand, and my job on behalf of the American people is to find a way to vote with my Democrat colleagues and a Democrat president to solve America's problems," Boehner said. "If there was one mandate that came out of the election, it was find a way to work together to address our problems."

—This article was originally posted at 5:20 p.m. and last updated at 8:07 p.m.