Graham 'frustrated' by Ryan's immigration comments

Greg Nash

Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday voiced frustration over remarks from House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who suggested that the House wouldn't move on immigration reform while President Obama is in office. 

"I understand his frustration with President Obama. His executive actions have undercut, you know, the trust around here. But quite frankly, from my party's point of view: I think we do own some responsibility for letting things go to the House and never be voted on," Graham told reporters. "If you don't like the Senate bill, change it, but at least vote. Take a stand." 

His remarks come after Ryan suggested the president is standing in the way of passing legislation, calling him "untrustworthy" on the issue. 

"I think given the fact that President Obama tried to do an end-run around Congress to go it alone, to try to write laws himself unilaterally — which is not what presidents do, that's what Congress does — I think on this particular issue he has proven himself untrustworthy on this," Ryan told reporters Tuesday. 

Asked whether he was "frustrated" by Ryan's remarks, Graham said that "yes, absolutely, I'm frustrated, because I think he's right about President Obama — because of his executive actions — but I think it's wrong for the House not to take a position on immigration."

The Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform legislation in 2013, but it stalled in the House. Graham was one of 14 Senate Republicans who voted for the legislation.

Graham said that while Ryan individually has had a "balanced view" on immigration, "the idea that the House never acts on immigration I think is going to come back to haunt us." 

Ryan isn't alone in suggesting that immigration legislation won't move through Congress while Obama is president. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters earlier this year that immigration legislation is off the table until 2017.

"I think when the president took the action he did, after the 2014 election, he pretty much made it impossible for us to go forward," the Republican leader added at the time.