Obama says House should pass immigration bill despite Cantor loss

Posted by Anita Kumar on June 11, 2014 

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President Barack Obama

CHARLES DHARAPAK — AP

He may not have mentioned Eric Cantor's name, but President Barack Obama had a clear message Wednesday night about what the House majority leader's stunning defeat should --- and should not -- do:

It should not prevent the House from rewriting the nation's immigration laws.

"It’s interesting to listen to the pundits and the analysts, and some of the conventional wisdom talks about, oh, the politics of immigration reform seem impossible now. I fundamentally reject that," Obama told supporters at a Democatic fundraiser in Weston, Mass. "And I will tell the Speaker of the House that he needs to reject that."

David Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College, easily defeated Cantor, after arguing was no longer conservative enough on immigration and other issus and had grown too willing to deal with the Democrats in Washington.

"If you think that because of politics you want to maintain a status quo that’s broken; because of politics we’re going to forego the economic growth and the deficit reduction, and the border security, and the fairness and the opportunity that immigration reform represents -- you don’t belong in Washington," Obama said. "Because at a certain point, the issues are important enough to fight for. And my argument about yesterday’s election is not that there was too little politics, it’s that there was too little conviction about what’s right."

Obama has pushed immigration changes. The Democrat-controlled Senate passed a bill he supports, but the House has not acted. "We need to get immigration reform done," he said. "We need to rebuild our infrastructure around this country. We need to invest in basic research and science. We need to make sure that we have equal pay for equal work. We need to make sure that we’ve got a strong minimum wage. And we can debate the issues, but we need to have a sense of urgency about the struggles that middle-class families and those who want to get into the middle class, what they’re going through."

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