The conservative group Heritage Action slammed Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerRift widens between business groups and House GOP Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Debt ceiling games endanger US fiscal credibility — again MORE (R-Ohio) late Thursday for mocking Republicans who have resisted taking on immigration reform.
“It’s disappointing, but by now not surprising, that the Republican Speaker is attacking conservatives looking to retake the Senate,” Heritage Action CEO Michael A. Needham said in a statement.
Needham said the Republican Party should be large enough for “fact-based policy debates,” which he suggested Boehner isn’t interested in having.
“Unfortunately, John Boehner is more interested in advancing the agenda of high-powered DC special interests than inspiring Americans with a policy vision that allows freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society to flourish."
Tensions between Boehner and conservative groups, including Heritage Action, have been high since the government shutdown last year. The Speaker said last December that groups like Heritage Action have “lost all credibility.”
At a luncheon in Boehner’s home district Thursday, the Speaker mocked the rest of the GOP Caucus and suggested its members are too afraid to take on immigration reform.
"Here's the attitude. 'Ohhhh. Don't make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard,' " he said at a lunch hosted by a rotary club, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The Speaker said voters elect people to Congress to solve programs, but added his Republican colleagues don’t want to fulfill that obligation.
"We get elected to make choices," he said. "We get elected to solve problems and it's remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don't want to. ... They'll take the path of least resistance."
He said he’s had “every brick and bat and arrow” shot at him over this issue.
Despite his remarks, Boehner has repeatedly said at Capitol Hill press conferences that House Republicans can’t make progress on any reform until they can trust President Obama.
Boehner said earlier this year that reform would be “almost impossible” if Obama continues to sign executive orders to change the current system.
The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill last year, but House GOP leaders have refused to take up that version.