By Justin Sink - 06/13/13 05:03 PM EDT
President Obama will meet Thursday with the four Senate Democrats who crafted a bipartisan immigration reform bill. [WATCH VIDEO]
Obama will meet with Sens. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerConvention shows Democrats support fracking, activists on the fringe Dem ad blasts Indiana senate candidate on Social Security The Trail 2016: Unity at last MORE (N.Y.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinSyria activists cheer Kaine pick Democratic National Convention event calendar Opioid package clears key Senate hurdle MORE (Ill.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezTim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense GMO labeling bill advances in the Senate over Dem objections Overnight Finance: Trump threatens NAFTA withdrawal | Senate poised for crucial Puerto Rico vote | Ryan calls for UK trade deal | Senate Dems block Zika funding deal MORE (N.J.) and Michael BennetMichael BennetBacteria found ahead of Olympics underscores need for congressional action for new antibiotics Top GOP senator: Trump will have little effect on Senate races Black GOP Senate candidate rips Obama MORE (Colo.) — as well as Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyNBA pulls All-Star Game from NC over bathroom law When America denies citizenship to servicemembers Criminal sentencing bill tests McConnell-Grassley relationship MORE (Vt.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
The Senate began debating the bill this week amid growing momentum for the bill.
“If you're serious about actually fixing the system, then this is the vehicle to do it," Obama said. "If you're not serious about it — if you think a broken system is the best America can do, then I guess it makes sense to block it.”
Carney said Thursday that the White House is “heartened” by progress, before adding more work must be done.
“The president’s interest is in the Senate recognizing that we have a unique opportunity that has been a long time coming and isn’t likely to come again any time soon if we don’t seize it to pass comprehensive immigration reform with bipartisan support,” Carney added.
Some lawmakers have suggested Obama should stay away from the debate over the bill, and that his interference could hurt its prospects.
“The biggest obstacle to passing common-sense immigration reform is President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaDefending Debbie Wasserman Schultz Brazile’s new role? Clean up DNC mess Dem donor irked by Nordic dinner invite MORE,” Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense Conventions giving us best political drama in decades Dems flirt with disaster on convention’s first day MORE (R-Texas) told ABC News on Monday.
Cruz also suggested Obama had designed the immigration bill, which includes a pathway to citizenship for the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants, to fail in the House as leverage for political gain.
“It is designed for it to sail through the Senate and then crash in the House to let the president go and campaign in 2014 on this issue,” Cruz said.