President Obama praised a bipartisan Senate effort on immigration reform but also warned that if lawmakers get bogged down, he’ll send Congress a bill based on the proposal he outlined Tuesday.
President Obama on Tuesday praised a bipartisan Senate effort to overhaul the US immigration system and said he’d wait for Congress to take the lead on this issue.
“At this moment, it looks like there is a genuine desire to get this done soon, and that’s very encouraging,” Mr. Obama said in what officials billed as a major speech on the subject in Las Vegas.
But the president indicated that his patience is provisional. He laid out principles he said should be reflected in any comprehensive immigration-reform legislation, and he said that if lawmakers get bogged down bickering, he’ll act.
“If Congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, I will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist they vote on it right away,” Obama said.
Obama seemed to be trying to accomplish the difficult feat of appearing to exert presidential leadership while letting a rare moment of bipartisanship bloom. He probably knows that if he demands certain details right now, he’ll polarize the situation and make it harder for lawmakers to come together.