Boehner: GOP to focus on debt, not immigration or climate

In the months to come, Washington also faces looming sequester cuts and the expiration of a measure to fund the government, deadlines which some conservatives hope can force action on spending restraint.

ADVERTISEMENT
In his address Monday, Obama called for equal treatment for gays and lesbians and for helping the poor, in addition to tackling climate change and changing immigration procedures. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said this week that he wants to make immigration reform a priority, and key Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) have also said Washington needs to examine the country’s immigration system. 

Advocates for more aggressive climate measures, meanwhile, are pinning their hopes on executive actions, given the bleak prospects for legislation on Capitol Hill.  

A Senate push to cap greenhouse gases collapsed in 2010, at a time when Democrats held a stronger majority than they do now, after legislation narrowly passing the House in 2009.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, suggested on Tuesday that getting climate legislation through Congress would be a tall task. Advocates have called for executive action on setting carbon emission standards and rejecting the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, among other things. 

“It's clear that bipartisan opposition to legislative action is still a reality,” Carney said.