WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama said on Friday that he is certain the Senate-passed immigration reform bill could pass the House, if Republicans stopped refusing to bring it for a vote.
"I am absolutely confident that if that bill was on the floor of the House, it would pass," he said at a press conference at the White House. "The challenge right now is not that there aren't a majority of House members, just like a majority of Senate members, who [are] prepared to support this bill, the problem is internal Republican caucus politics."
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said he will not bring the Senate bill to the floor because a majority of House Republicans oppose it, even if it might get the 218 votes needed for passage with heavy Democratic support. Other Democrats agree that the bill could pass in the House if Boehner allowed for a vote: Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who is working with a bipartisan group on a reform bill, said this week that he thinks 40 to 50 GOP members would be willing to support a comprehensive approach.
Obama also expressed frustration at the reasons many Republicans have given for opposing comprehensive immigration reform, saying the Senate bill more than answers for concerns about border security and enforcement.
"When I hear the opposition to immigration reform, I just run through the list of things they're concerned about, I look at what the Senate bill does and I say to myself, you know what? The Senate bill actually improves the situation on every issue that they say they're concerned about," Obama said.
He said critics are wrong to argue the bill isn't good enough because it wouldn't fully fix the problem.
"I don't know a law that solves a problem 100 percent," Obama said, citing the discrimination that remains despite the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.
"That doesn't make them bad laws," he added. "It just means that there are very few human problems that are 100 percent solvable."