Obama calls Senate gang to offer congrats on immigration

President Obama called the eight senators who crafted the immigration reform legislation approved by the Senate from his African trip on Thursday to congratulate them on their victory.

Obama spoke to Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) after returning from an official dinner in Senegal Thursday night, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

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The president also spoke to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and urged them to take up immigration reform.

Obama tried but failed to reach Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the other four authors of the Senate bill. The eight members are known as the gang of eight.

Carney would not elaborate on the White House strategy going forward when it comes to tackling immigration, one of Obama's top priorities in his second term. The White House spokesman simply emphasized that the legislation “enjoyed substantial bipartisan support in the Senate” and argued it would be a “boon” to the economy — including significantly reducing the deficit —if it became law.

Carney pledged that the White House would work with the House the same way it did with the Senate, “which is to make clear what our principles are and to provide the significant amount of policy expertise that we have, and data that we have, and to be as helpful to the process as we can.”