Prospects dim for immigration measure as House speaker says it will be difficult to pass

The Associated Press

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. Boehner said Thursday it will be difficult to pass immigration legislation this year, dimming prospects for one of President Barack Obama's top domestic priorities. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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Boehner's pessimistic comments came just two days after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters that differences between the Senate's comprehensive approach and the House's piecemeal strategy were an "irresolvable conflict."

"I don't see how you get to an outcome this year with the two bodies in such a different place," McConnell told reporters.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Thursday, "don't blame Boehner alone. Because the Senate Republican leader threw cold water on this," a reference to McConnell's comments.

Yet Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who worked to ensure passage of the Senate bill, said "I'm still optimistic that we'll get this done."

Though Obama has threatened to act on his own if Congress did not move on some of his other priorities, Carney signaled that Obama was not prepared to do that on immigration.

"There's no alternative to comprehensive immigration reform passing through Congress. It requires legislation. And the president's made that clear in the past, and that continues to be his view," he said.

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Associated Press writers David Espo and Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.

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