"We know the votes aren't there right now," Gibbs said during his daily press briefing about the congressional appetite for a comprehensive immigration reform package that would give illegal residents in the U.S. a path to citizenship.
"I think there's a seriousness in an effort, but in understanding that in 2005 and 2006 and even in 2007 there was not a majority yet to do this," Gibbs said, referencing the Bush administrations failed effort to rope in enough Republicans and centrist Democrats to pass immigration reform and a guest worker program.
The plan was derailed when conservative activists, who claimed the program would have constituted "amnesty" for illegal immigrants, managed to pick off enough Republicans in the House and Senate to forestall a vote.
Gibbs said that the White House would make an effort, though, to win the votes for a reform plan, for which President Obama reiterated his support Friday morning.
"We want to work with those both in favor and support of those previous efforts to see where we can get comprehensive immigration reform to pass," Gibbs said.