House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she believes House Speaker John Boehner is sincere when he says he wants to pass a comprehensive immigration reform package - but added that the Republican leader is hamstrung by his own party.
"I have always said I believe that the speaker, in all sincerity, wants to pass a comprehensive immigration reform." Pelosi said Thursday morning at her weekly press briefing. "When he put forth the principles, he ran it up the flagpole, we saluted; his caucus chopped down the flagpole."
Her remarks come as Democrats continue to put pressure on House Republicans to allow a vote on a comprehensive immigration reform package that would include a pathway to citizenship.
Earlier this year, House GOP leadership released a set of principles that they would support on the immigration issue. But after some conservatives insisted that passing immigration reform this year would hurt GOP chances in the midterms, Boehner later signaled that the chances of passing a bill this year are slim.
Boehner has said previously that he would like to see a comprehensive immigration reform bill passed, but that his caucus does not trust that President Obama would enforce the law properly.
Later Thursday, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) took to the Senate floor to criticize House Republicans for refusing to bring an immigration reform bill to a vote.
"More than 300 days after we in the Senate passed bipartisan legislation...the House has failed to do anything to fix our broken immigration system," Schumer said. "The problem isn’t that the House has passed immigration laws that the Senate disagrees with. The problem is that the House won’t put any immigration bills up for a vote no matter what is in those bills."
Schumer has been a leading critic of the GOP's claim that it cannot move forward on immigration legislation because of distrust of Obama. He has proposed that the House pass a bill that would hold off on the implementation of any of the immigration reforms until 2017 -- after Obama is out of office.
"They can try to place the blame on the president, saying he can’t be entrusted to enforce any laws." Schumer said. "We believe that’s a phony excuse, but if that’s really their problem, let’s pass a bill now and delay implementation until 2017.