WASHINGTON Nov 5 President Barack Obama turned
to business leaders on Tuesday to try to build momentum for an
overhaul of the U.S. immigration system and pressured the U.S.
Congress to approve legislation by the end of the year.
Obama brought a number of business executives to the White
House to stress his belief that untangling the immigration
system would add $1.4 trillion in growth to the U.S. economy
over 20 years and reduce deficit spending in the federal budget
by $850 billion.
Immigration legislation that would create a provisional
status for workers as part of a 13-year path to U.S. citizenship
cleared the Democratic-controlled Senate in June but is stalled
in the Republican-led House of Representatives.
Obama told reporters as he met the business leaders that he
would press the issue in coming weeks.
"There's no reason why we can't get this done before the end
of the year," he said.
The president's domestic agenda has been caught up in
controversies in recent weeks, including a budget battles with
Republicans that led to a 16-day government shutdown. He is
currently struggling to smooth out the troubled rollout of his
signature healthcare law.
Intent on showing that other parts of his agenda can be
worked on at the same time, Obama said he realizes there has
been resistance to the immigration plan from House Republicans
and that "the politics are challenging" for House Speaker John
He said he believed the immigration overhaul would pass if
Boehner allowed it to come to a vote in the House.
"We want to make it as easy for him as possible. This is not
an issue where we're looking for a political win. This is one
where we're looking for a substantive win for the U.S. economy,"
Among the business leaders who met Obama were Roger Altman,
chairman of Evercore Partners; Don Thompson, chief executive of
McDonald's; Arne Sorenson, the Marriott chief executive; and
Marillyn Hewson, chief executive of Lockheed Martin.