Published December 20, 2015
House Speaker John Boehner reportedly mocked his GOP colleagues for their resistance to immigration legislation during a speech in his home district, in the latest sign he's pushing aggressively to break the logjam in Congress -- in defiance of some in his own party.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Boehner took congressional Republicans to task during a talk to a local Rotary Club in Ohio.
"Here's the attitude. Ohhhh. Don't make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard," Boehner said, according to the paper, pretending to whine as he talked.
He added: "We get elected to make choices. 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."
Boehner reportedly said he's had "every brick and bat and arrow shot at me" over the issue.
GOP House leaders have been giving off mixed signals about the chances for immigration legislation this year. In February, Boehner effectively threw the brakes on talks, saying it would be "difficult" to move any bill as long as lawmakers are concerned about the administration's enforcement of existing immigration law.
Those concerns still exist -- if anything, they've grown as the Department of Homeland Security undergoes an intensive review of deportation policies.
But Boehner in recent days has signaled he wants to get the House quickly moving again on legislation.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Boehner said at a recent fundraiser he was "hell-bent on getting this done this year."
His office later reiterated that there could be no action until President Obama can be a better partner.
Boehner's deputy, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, took a similar tone after an apparently rough conversation with the president last week.
Cantor also said House Republicans "do not support" a bill by Senate Democrats that would grant "amnesty" to illegal immigrants
Still, Boehner appears to be putting himself out there on an issue that many Republicans would just as soon avoid in an election year.
On the Senate side, Republicans have been blasting the administration over its current immigration approach. Twenty-two senators just sent a letter to Obama accusing the administration of "an astonishing disregard for the Constitution" by considering easing off deportation policies.
The letter, signed by Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and others, said the changes would be a "near complete abandonment of basic immigration enforcement."
DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson has been reviewing deportations, under pressure from immigrant advocacy groups to make the policies more humane.
The Associated Press reports that he is looking at limiting deportations for those who don't have serious criminal records.