Top Senate Democrats are sick of waiting for the House to take up comprehensive immigration reform. If Republicans don’t act in July, President Obama will, they warn. After all, he still has a pen and phone, right?
Via The Hill:
"We're at the end of the line," Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said Thursday during a press briefing in the Capitol. "We're not bluffing by setting a legislative deadline for them to act.
"Their first job is to govern," Menendez added, "and in the absence of governing, then you see executive actions."
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) piled on. Noting that a year has passed since the Senate passed a sweeping immigration reform bill with broad bipartisan support, he urged House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring a similar bill to the floor.
"I don't know how much more time he thinks he needs, but I hope that Speaker Boehner will speak up today," Durbin said. "And if he does not, the president will borrow the power that is needed to solve the problems of immigration."
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest made similar remarks in an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd:
“[W]e’re not just going to sit around and wait interminably for Congress,” he said. “We’ve been waiting a year already. The president has tasked his Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson with reviewing what options are available to the president, what is at his disposal using his executive authority to try to address some of the problems that have been created by our broken immigration system.”
Given the current unaccompanied child immigration crisis at the Southwestern border, however, Boehner says passing any legislation this year will only be more difficult.
“The president's making this harder and harder every day for us to try to deal with this in a responsible way," Boehner said. "We've got a humanitarian disaster on the border. Most of it, at the president's own making, in my opinion, and so it makes our jobs much more difficult because of the actions he's taken or not taken with regard to the border."