Boehner: Not Ignoring Budget Dissent for Immigration Reform

Image: Boehner: Not Ignoring Budget Dissent for Immigration Reform

Friday, 13 Dec 2013 06:03 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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House Speaker John Boehner is picking fights with outside conservative groups to quickly pass the bipartisan budget — and clear the calendar for immigration reform legislation next year, Heritage Action think-tank CEO Michael Needham charged on Friday, The Hill reported.

"The speaker is trying to turn this into a boring fight between outside groups and himself so we are not having a policy debate about whether or not this is a good deal," said Needham.

"This deal increases spending, this deal increases taxes. And that is bad for the country and that is what we want to be focused on," Needham added in an interview on MSNBC. "The speaker also wants to clear the way for immigration reform next year."

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel defended the budget deal and said it has "nothing to do" with immigration.

"The agreement does not increase spending or taxes — in fact, it reduces the deficit — and has nothing to do with the need to fix our broken immigration system," Steel said.

Most House Republicans have supported the measure, giving the Ohio Republican and GOP Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who drew up the deal, a huge victory.

On Thursday, Boehner said outside groups had lost credibility by coming out against the deal before the final details had been released.

He said their pressure to tie the defunding of the healthcare law to a government funding bill led to the government shutdown in October, which tarnished the Republican image in the polls.

Boehner took a shot at Needham over the government shutdown.

"But if you'll recall the day before the government reopened, one of the people — one of these groups — stood up and said, 'well, we never really thought it would work.' Are you kidding me?" Boehner said.

On Friday, Needham responded, saying, "The speaker is being absurd. I think we are the iTunes of politics," he said, referring to how the media player changed the music industry. "The establishment is very upset with the notion that there are people having conversations with their voters, and I think that is good for Democracy."

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