President Obama on Thursday pushed Congress to pass a broad immigration overhaul by the end of this year, an ambitious goal for the divided body.
Obama outlined his agenda now that the federal government has re-opened. He called on lawmakers to draft a “responsible budget,” pass a farm bill, and address immigration reform.
'We should finish the job of fixing our broken immigration system,” Obama said at the White House.
The president gave Congress a tight window to pass an immigration bill.
"This can and should get done by the end of this year,” he said.
Earlier this year, the Senate passed a sweeping overhaul of the immigration system. The bill contains a path to citizenship and bolstered border security measures, but the effort has stalled in the House.
The Republican-controlled body is deeply divided on how to fix the nation’s immigration system and the animosity between the GOP and Obama is as high as ever following the latest fiscal crisis.
The president challenged the House to find common ground.
“If the House has ideas on how to improve the Senate bill, let's hear them,” he said. “Let's start the negotiations. But let's not leave this problem to keep festering for another year, or two years, or three years."
Obama and immigration advocates say they are committed to reviving the issue, despite its long odds of passage and the short window of time remaining this year. Obama sought to reassure Latino voters — seven in ten of whom backed his reelection bid last year — that the government shutdown had not killed immigration reform.
“Once that’s done, you know, the day after I’m going to be pushing to say, call a vote on immigration reform,” Obama told Univision’s Los Angeles affiliate, KMEX, in an interview Tuesday. “I’m going to do so because I think it’s really important for the country.”
Jordan Fabian is Fusion's politics editor, writing about campaigns, Congress, immigration, and more. When he's not working, you can find him at the ice rink or at home with his wife, Melissa.