GOP lawmaker to meet with Obama on immigration

A meeting planned for Tuesday between President Obama and a House Republican supporter of immigration reform, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), has been canceled due to “scheduling conflicts,” according to a source familiar with the plans. 

There was no word late Monday on whether the meeting would be rescheduled.

Diaz-Balart had been scheduled to meet with the president at the White House to discuss immigration reform.

He is a crucial House Republican on the issue, and earlier this year, had been working with lawmakers from both parties on a comprehensive House bill. 

The bipartisan group has disbanded, but Diaz-Balart has continued to pursue his own legislation. 

Other lawmakers had been expected to attend the White House meeting, though the precise guest list was unclear.

{mosads}In an interview Monday, Diaz-Balart told Southwest Florida NPR affiliate WGCU that the president’s openness to immigration reform presented an opportunity.

“Is it a sure thing? Absolutely not,” he said. “Our biggest enemy right now is time. We need time on the floor. Every day or week or month that goes by, our chances of getting it done are less and less. But can we get it done? Yes. Do I think we are getting to get it done? I am cautiously optimistic that we are going to get it done.”

Obama has sought to pump up the pressure on Republicans over immigration and won a small victory this week with Rep. Jeff Denham’s (R-Calif.) decision to co-sponsor a House immigration reform bill backed by Democrats.

But prospects for moving immigration reform through the Senate remain dim, with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on record as saying he would not bring a bill to the floor unless it is supported by a majority of his conference.

— Russell Berman contributed

— This story was first posted at 1:28 p.m. and has been updated with new information.

Tags Barack Obama immigration reform John Boehner Mario Diaz-Balart Mario Diaz-Balart

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