Update: A spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, has issued a response to Cantor's statement, included in the story below.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., issued a highly critical statement Wednesday, slamming President Obama for what he called “partisan messaging” on immigration reform and blaming him for the lack of progress on the issue.
Cantor said President Obama called him “hours after he issued a partisan statement which attacked me and my fellow House Republicans and which indicated no sincere desire to work together.”
House Democrats called Cantor's statement "ridiculous."
The House has refused to take up a Senate-passed immigration bill, which would combine increased border security with a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants now living in the country. It would also expand visa programs and create a guest worker program.
Earlier today, President Obama issued a statement calling on the House to “listen to the will of the American people,” and take up comprehensive immigration reform. The Senate immigration bill was unveiled one year ago today.
Cantor, in his rebuttal statement, criticized Obama’s dealings with Congress, something that has been echoed by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers who say the president is often reluctant to take a hands-on approach with lawmakers.
“You do not attack the very people you hope to engage in a serious dialogue,” Cantor said his statement, aiming his comment directly at the president.
Cantor said he told President Obama, as he has in the past, that the House will not take up the Senate passed bill.
President Obama is expected in the coming weeks to make "fixes" to the nation's immigration policies regarding deportations, with broader changes coming later this year, according to Democrats who have met with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill issued this response to Cantor:
“In response to the President’s renewed call for action on comprehensive immigration reform, Congressman Cantor once again offered only excuses for inaction. With thirty House Republicans on the record in support of comprehensive reform, Rep. Cantor’s ridiculous statement this evening confirms that the Republican leadership continues to stand in the way of legislation that would pass the House immediately if allowed to come to the floor.
“It’s time for Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor to get out of the way, and allow immigration reform to become a reality.”