Both the White House and aides to House Speaker John Boehner are working Friday to knock down a report that the Republican leader has privately promised to pass immigration reform this year.
The report stems from a speech given by Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, who reportedly told a gathering of hedge fund executives and political donors gathered in Las Vegas this week that Boehner gave the White House assurances he would pass an immigration bill.
“I think we have a window this summer, between now and August, to get something done,” Jarrett said, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. “We have a commitment from Speaker Boehner, who’s very frustrated with his caucus.”
Conservative website Breitbart.com picked up the story with the headline: “VALERIE JARRETT: ‘WE HAVE A COMMITMENT’ FROM BOEHNER ON AMNESTY THIS YEAR,” while The Drudge Report linked the story with “Valerie Jarrett: ‘We have a commitment’ from Boehner to move immigration…”
But Boehner spokesman Michael Steel denied the report in a statement Friday. “Republicans are committed to reforming our immigration system, but as the speaker has said repeatedly, it’s difficult to see how we make progress until the American people have faith that President Obama will enforce the law as written.” he said.
And on Twitter, Jarrett said her meaning was “lost in translation.”
Immigration reform is seen among GOP elites as an imperative for the party’s longterm demographic survival, as Hispanic-Americans are expected to account for up to 40% of the growth in eligible voters by 2030. However, conservative activists, and many in Boehner’s conference, remain dead-set against passing any immigration reform bill.