House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he was not mocking the GOP lawmakers in his conference when he bemoaned to the Middletown, Ohio, Rotary Club the difficulties in getting them to agree to an immigration reform bill.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Boehner said after a reporter asked whether he regretted “mocking your own members last week.”
Boehner told reporters he was misunderstood when he acted out the negative reaction from GOP lawmakers to an immigration reform bill.
“You tease the ones you love, right?” Boehner said.
Boehner told reporters he clarified what he meant during a private meeting with his GOP lawmakers Tuesday morning.
“I wanted to make sure the members understood that the biggest impediment we have in moving immigration reform is that the American people don’t trust the president to enforce or implement the law that we may or may not pass,” he said.
Boehner said immigration reform is under discussion, but there are no immediate plans to take up a bill unless President Obama demonstrates he will enforce “the law the way it may be passed.”
Republicans want much stronger border security measures, while Obama has recently moved to ease deportation of those who are now here illegally.
Obama has also angered Republicans by stepping up executive actions that circumvent Congress and making dozens of changes in the health care law that the GOP believes are aimed at politically benefitting Democrats in the critical midterm elections.
“It’s the same point I’ve made to the president for the last four months,” Boehner said, “that he continues to make these arbitrary changes to the law, and it just raises more angst with our members and with their constituents.”
Boehner admitted some members weren’t happy with his immigration comments.
“Our members know me, alright?” Boehner said. “But, you know, sometimes I can rib people just a little too much sometimes. This wouldn’t be the first time.”