Pelosi blasts Boehner on immigration

Lauren Schneiderman

Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) recent suggestion that the push for comprehensive immigration reform is over this year is "outrageous," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) charged Thursday.

The Democratic leader said there's plenty of House support for such a proposal and called on GOP leaders to revive the issue before the end of the year.

"The very idea that there wouldn't be an immigration bill, I think that that's outrageous," Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. "I don't know whether people are taking it seriously, or not. But if that's the indication, well that's just a dereliction of duty."

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Piling on, Pelosi said an abandonment of the issue "removes any credible moral authority on the subject of immigration from any of the Republicans."

"Because either their vote doesn't count in their caucus or their word means nothing to their Speaker, but many of them have said they they would ... support comprehensive immigration reform," she said.

Boehner has nominally supported immigration reform all year, but he's declined to put his weight behind it — a dynamic that's undermined the strong momentum generated by President Obama's reelection last November.

With broad bipartisan support, the Senate in June passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill that combines billions of dollars in enhanced border security with a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants currently living in the country illegally. But Boehner has refused to bring it up or go to conference on it with an alternative GOP bill — a position he amplified this week.

"I'll make clear we have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill," Boehner told reporters Wednesday.

Pelosi was incredulous Thursday, suggesting that Boehner's statement was simply political and arguing that there's still time to pass a bill through the House this year.

"I don't even accept that as a serious statement," she said, "because if it were a serious statement, there'd be much more uproar over it."