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.

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 ReidHarry ReidTop Lobbyists 2017: Grass roots Boehner confronted Reid after criticism from Senate floor GOP in uncharted territory rolling back rules through resolutions MORE (D-Nev.) said this week that he wants to make immigration reform a priority, and key Republicans like Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny Cornyn: Senate GOP tax plan to be released Thursday This week: GOP seeks to advance tax overhaul MORE (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.