President Barack Obama said Wednesday that there "may not be an appetite" in Congress to deal with immigration immediately after going through a tough legislative year.
Obama said that there's work to do on energy legislation, midterm elections are coming up and he doesn't want to do something "just for the sake of politics." He said he hopes to get a working group together to solve a wide range of issues on immigration in a way that can garner the support of the American people.
"We've gone though a very tough year and I've been working Congress very hard, so I know there may not be an appetite immediately to dive into another controversial issue," the president told reporters aboard Air Force One returning with him to Washington from a Midwest trip.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had talked about moving immigration ahead of climate change legislation, a suggestion that splintered bipartisan support for the climate bill. Then Reid said Tuesday he was willing to bring up climate change legislation ahead of an immigration bill, but Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham was still angry that Reid considered putting off the climate bill.
Reid said the long-delayed climate bill "is much further down the road in terms of a product" than the immigration measure, which remains unwritten.
An immigration proposal by three Democratic senators calls for more federal enforcement agents and other border security-tightening benchmarks before illegal immigrants could become legal U.S. residents, according to a draft of the legislation obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press. The bill is being developed by Reid of Nevada, Charles Schumer of New York and Robert Menendez of New Jersey.