President Obama on Thursday said that Republicans should be “embarrassed” that they have not done more on Capitol Hill, blaming them for Washington gridlock.
“They've got to be embarrassed,” the president said in an interview on MSNBC’s "Hardball with Chris Matthews." “Because the truth of the matter is that they've now been in charge of the House of Representatives, one branch of, or one chamber in one branch of government, for a couple of years now and they just don't have a lot to show for it.”
Obama said that congressional Republicans were too fearful of offending their conservative base to sit down and compromise with him.
"There's so much focus on the politics of the base and Republicans being worried about getting challenged during the primary season that inhibits a lot of cooperation that is there,” he said.
But the president added that he believes there were GOP lawmakers who wanted to work with him.
“I actually think there are a bunch of Republicans who want to get stuff done,” he said.
Many of Obama’s key second-term priorities, including immigration reform and jobs and infrastructure spending, have failed to progress in the GOP-controlled House.
House Republicans have also voted 46 times to defund or block elements of his signature health care reform bill.
Earlier this year the federal government also shut down for 16 days and the Treasury Department came within hours of defaulting on the nation’s debt after lawmakers and the White House were unable to agree on a spending bill.
Obama said the debate over immigration reform highlighted the poor record of the House GOP.
A bipartisan, comprehensive Senate bill to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws passed this summer, but Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the measure was dead on arrival in the House.
Boehner has said he will only pass immigration reform that has the support of a majority of the GOP caucus and take up the issue piecemeal instead of through a comprehensive bill.
“Now we've got a majority of the American people who think it's a good idea. And we've got a majority of the Senate, including Republicans, who think it's a good idea,” said Obama of immigration reform. “The only thing that's stopping it, at this point, is what I mentioned earlier, a faction in the House Republican Party that is resistant."
Obama though said he was “optimistic we'll get it done.”
“I think John Boehner is sincere about getting it done,” he added.