A senior White House official said the Senate’s 68-32 passage of a sweeping immigration bill on Thursday has created pressure for action in the GOP-led House.
“There is a national conversation happening about immigration reform. And there is a sense of momentum created by what the Senate just did. So we expect that conversation is going to continue,” said Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.
President Obama on Saturday urged the House to move legislation before the August recess. But efforts to reach a House-Senate deal face major hurdles.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said any House plan must have support from a majority of the Republicans in his chamber.
Asked whether that represents a setback, Munoz replied: “there are multiple options available for House consideration.”
“It is important that the speaker has made it clear that the House is going to make its mark on this debate. That’s as it should be,” she said on the program “Political Capital with Al Hunt.”
The Senate plan, which includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented residents, won 14 Republican votes in the upper chamber.
Munoz called the 68-32 Senate passage a “very strong vote,” and said there’s widespread backing for immigration reform nationwide that will translate into support from House Republicans.
“[Y]ou’re talking about the business community, from the National Association of Manufacturers, to the U.S. Chamber, to the tech sector, small businesses, faith leaders of every kind, but also this conversation is happening locally in a different way in religious congregations, in communities around the country," she said. "The country is for this and I think ultimately the House of Representatives will be too."