Obama Reaches Out to GOP Senators on Immigration

Wednesday, 20 Feb 2013 12:56 PM

By Dan Weil

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After taking a lot of heat for drafting an immigration plan of his own, President Barack Obama Tuesday contacted three Republican senators to make amends, according to The New York Times.

The three, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John McCain of Arizona, and Marco Rubio of Florida, are part of the bipartisan Group of Eight senators trying to craft immigration reform legislation.

The fourth GOP senator in the group, Jeff Flake of Arizona, was traveling Tuesday, but Obama plans to talk with him soon, the White House said.

The problem started when a leaked version of the White House plan hit the media last weekend. Republicans were upset that Obama was creating a proposal of his own, instead of letting Congress carry the load. The White House responded that the plan was meant for release only if Congress failed to reach an accord.

“During the calls, which build on conversations that have taken place at the staff level, the president reiterated that he remains supportive of the effort under way in Congress, and that he hopes that they can produce a bill as soon as possible that reflects shared core principles on reform,” the White House said in a statement.

But the statement added that the president would still be "prepared to submit his own legislation if Congress fails to act.”

Nonetheless, Rubio responded positively to the president's call. His office released a statement saying he was appreciative of the president's effort "to discuss immigration reform."

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