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Gutierrez to Obama: 'Pick up the phone'

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) on Friday urged President Obama to call Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP lawmakers to begin talks on immigration reform. 

Gutierrez said Obama needs to overcome the lingering animosity from the budget battle in order to make progress on his top second-term priority.

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“I also think that given the raw nerves, maybe he should pick up the phone, call Boehner, call the Judiciary chairman, call the Republicans in,” he said on MSNBC. “Democrats, we're good, right? We know and we're ready to do it. Kind of bring them in, talk to them, and see where that sweet spot is at so that we can move forward.”

Gutierrez said he is confident that there is support for immigration reform within the 87 Republicans who voted Wednesday on a deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.

“You see those 80, 90 Republicans that did vote to keep the government open, in that mix of Republican members of the House of Representatives are the necessary numbers to get comprehensive immigration reform,” he said. 

Some Republicans supportive of immigration reform have cautioned that the drawn-out budget fight has hampered any immigration deal, which seemed slim even before the 16-day shutdown.

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), the first Republican to drop out of the House immigration discussions earlier this year, told The Huffington Post earlier this week that reform is probably dead. 

"For us to go to a negotiation, to the negotiating table with President Obama after what he has done over the last two and a half weeks, I think would be probably a very big mistake," he said.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who helped negotiate an immigration deal through the Senate, said no one can ignore that GOP trust for Obama dropped after the budget negotiations. 

“I certainly think the president's behavior over the last three weeks has made it harder, not easier,” he said Thursday on Fox.

Obama vowed to pursue an immigration vote in the House immediately following a budget deal. On Thursday, Obama said Boehner is the only thing standing in the way. 

However, negotiations on immigration reform have largely stalled in the House after the Senate passed a deal in June. A number or Republicans dropped out of a bipartisan House immigration working group.

During the government shutdown, House Democrats introduced a comprehensive immigration package that mirrored the Senate version. But that bill was aimed largely at keeping pressure on Republicans. 

Republicans have preferred a smaller piece-meal approach to reform.