President Barack Obama made a series of phone calls to Republican senators on Tuesday in an effort to grease the wheels for a bipartisan bill on immigration reform. The time frame for consideration of that bill remains vague, however, as the administration dismissed reports that action could happen as early as this month.
On Tuesday, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) relayed to the Wall Street Journal that the president called him from Air Force One to discuss, among other things, immigration reform, adding that Obama will be addressing or pushing the issue in the next month.
Brown, it turns out, isn't the only target. On Wednesday Obama "made a series of phone calls" while in air. The list of recipients included: Richard Lugar (Ind.), George LeMieux (Fl.), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Judd Gregg (N.H.). And while the effort was designed to "engage [the GOP's] desire to participate in the process of finding a comprehensive immigration reform solution," getting the legislative process moving in the immediate future was unlikely.
"I think I saw reports that there was this notion that the Senate would take this up within the month," said Gibbs. "Obviously the president is very interested in this, has been a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform. The president made a commitment to those working on the proposal in the Senate to help find additional support. But... I'm not aware that the president enumerated that we need to go to this in a month timeline."
The White House pledged to release the names of the other Republican senators called up by Obama. The Huffington Post will add those names to this post once they arrive. But the overarching goal of the administration is beginning to crystallize. Obama wants to make sure/ensure that the votes are there first before moving forward on the immigration reform proposals being crafted by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). The House of Representatives, too, is waiting on Senate action.
"I think it is safe to assume that we are not going to get comprehensive immigration reform legislation through the Senate on a party line vote, which means you are going to have to have bipartisan support,' said Gibbs.