10 july 2014
WASHINGTON — With the White House blaming their stubbornness for the border crisis, Texas Republicans countered Thursday with a fresh gambit — proposing a sitdown to clear the air and talk solutions.
“I am flattered that you think our delegation possesses the power to fix one of the largest humanitarian crises in our nation’s history,” freshman U.S. Rep. Roger Williams of Austin wrote to President Barack Obama. “On behalf of my Texas colleagues, I plead for your time.”
He added that although Obama had raised money in Texas without visiting the border, “I hope that the two miles between our House and the White House will not be a deterrent.”
For the last week, Obama and aides have sought to shift pressure over the crisis. They’ve tried to put the onus on Gov. Rick Perry, calling on him to use his influence and prod Texas lawmakers who oppose an immigration policy overhaul. Texas sends 26 Republicans to the House and Senate, more than any other state.
Perry dangled the possibility that he would broker a meeting with the Texans whom Obama cites as the source of congressional obstruction — if he will view the situation firsthand.
“Your visit would … provide an ideal opportunity to meet with the Texas congressional delegation to discuss permanent solutions to our border security issues,” Perry wrote the president Thursday. “Because this issue deserves swift action, I am available to help facilitate this meeting with the delegation.”
A reform plan the Senate passed over a year ago would have meant lots more security along the border, Obama argues — maybe even enough to have averted this crisis.
“I told Rick Perry,” he recounted late Wednesday, speaking with Democratic donors at the Austin home of director Robert Rodriguez, “I’m happy to listen to your ideas.”
But, he said, his main focus is the request pending before Congress to cope with the border crisis. He said it “would give us the resources to care for them and help deal with the border — all the things you say you want, Governor.”