Obama to push immigration reform 'day after' budget deal

President Obama vowed Tuesday that he would pursue an immigration reform vote in the House the "day after" Congress reaches an agreement to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.

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"Once that’s done, you know, the day after — I’m going to be pushing to say, call a vote on immigration reform," Obama told Univision's Los Angeles affiliate. "And if I have to join with other advocates and continue to speak out on that, and keep pushing, I’m going to do so because I think it’s really important for the country. And now is the time to do it."

The president reiterated his claim that the only thing holding back passage of the Senate's immigration bill is "Speaker Boehner not willing to call the bill on the floor of the House of Representatives."

White House press secretary Jay Carney acknowledged Wednesday that the reform effort had been blown off course by the fiscal battles.

"The president believes that one of the consequences of these manufactured crises is that time is taken away from the pursuit of other goals we have as a nation," Carney said.

He argued that the legislation was "the opposite of a partisan pursuit" and passing a bill "would benefit both parties."

But Carney refused to handicap the odds of pushing legislation through Congress in the aftermath of the budget battle.

"I don't think I place quantitative odds on any of this," Carney said. "Congress is a difficult institution to make predictions about."

Earlier this month, House Democrats introduced their own version of an immigration bill in an attempt to spur Republican action after it appeared that momentum had stalled for immigration reform. The bill largely mirrors the Senate effort, while stripping out some border security provisions added to win Senate GOP votes.

At the time, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) told USA Today the measure was "basically the Senate bill."

"I strongly oppose the Senate bill," he said.

Republican leaders have instead favored a piecemeal approach to reform, saying that big legislation would be too unwieldy to implement.

But Democrats believe that Republicans simply hope to vote for beefed up border security and employment verification measures without also providing a pathway to citizenship for the nation's workers who are in the U.S. illegally.

This story was updated at 1:36 p.m. Wednesday.