Boehner: Immigration Bill Is "Piece Of Shit"
House Minority Leader John Boehner, speaking to a private gathering of Republican activists last night, called the Senate's immigration compromise bill a "piece of shit" but said that he had promised President Bush earlier in the day that he would let his teeth be a barrier to such thoughts in public.
Boehner spoke last night at a small reception for the Republican Rapid Responders on Capitol Hill.
"I promised the President today that I wouldn't say anything bad about ... this piece of shit bill," he said, according to two attendees.
Earlier in the day, Boehner released a statement saying that "The Senate agreement appears to recognize that additional border security measures and more effective immigration law enforcement must come before any other issues are addressed, but I have significant concerns about parts of the Senate proposal -- particularly provisions that would reward illegal immigrants who have consistently broken our laws."
A senior Republican official said yesterday that while the chances of the bill, which opens pathways to citizenship for most of the U.S.'s 12 million illegal immigrants, are "50/50" in the House and that the White House would spend its time lobbying Democrats, rather than Republicans, to achieve a majority.
Yesterday, the Senate beat back an amendment by Sen. Byron Dorgan that would have scrapped the bill's new guest worker program. The defeat of that effort was interpreted as a sign that a solid majority of Senators are prepared to support the bill's main tenets, for now.
What happens when they hear from constituents over Memorial Day is unknown and unknowable.
A Boehner spokesman was not able to comment.
Boehner's tendency towards candor occasionally irks his staff, a fact that Boehner brought up with last night's audience. In 2006, Boehner called an idea put forth by then. Sen. Maj. Leader Bill Frist to provide Americans with a $100 rebate on gasoline "stupid." [MARC AMBINDER]