House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)
U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner listens to a question during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 6, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) mocked his Republican colleagues in the chamber during a Rotary Club luncheon in his home district on Thursday over their reluctance to consider a comprehensive immigration reform. “I don’t know whether we’re going to get to it this year or not,” he said. “I think we should. But the appetite amongst my colleagues for doing this is not real good.” Boehner then gave a nod to the presence of a cameraman in back of the room before twisting his face in an imitation of a child throwing a tantrum and adding, “Here’s the attitude: ‘Ohhh, don’t make me do this. Ohhh, this is too hard.”

“You should hear ‘em. You know, we get elected to make choices. We get elected to solve problems, and it’s remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don’t want to. . . . They’ll take the path of least resistance.” The speaker went on to emphasize his personal efforts – and the toll it’s taken on his popularity among some conservative groups and lawmakers -- over almost a year and a half in pushing for an immigration reform bill in Congress. "I've had every brick and bat and arrow shot at me over this issue just because I wanted to deal with it. I didn't say it was going to be easy.”

The Associated Press reports that voices on both sides of the aisle criticized him for his comments. Democrats joined Latino and immigrant advocates in accusing Boehner of blaming others in the House instead of taking the responsibility to bring the issue to a vote. Lynn Tramonte, deputy director of America's Voice, told the AP,"He's acting like he's not the speaker of the House.” And Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), a prominent conservative voice in immigration debates who last fall led a Republican exodus from a bipartisan House team over what he said were unresolvable differences on the topic, said Boehner needed to “stand up for House Republicans instead of catering to the media and special interest groups.” Labrador added, “The problem is Obama, not House Republicans.”

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