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Cantor: ‘Distrust’ Of Obama’s Ability To Enforce Current Laws Halts Immigration Reform

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U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor could be the next House speaker, but first he has to get past a little-known, tea party-backed challenger with a vocal following in Tuesday's Republican primary in Virginia.  (credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor could be the next House speaker, but first he has to get past a little-known, tea party-backed challenger with a vocal following in Tuesday’s Republican primary in Virginia. (credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, (R-Virginia) spoke with CBS’s Major Garret on Sunday following the House Republicans’ annual retreat to discuss planned legislative action. Cantor discussed the “distrust” felt by the House GOP regarding the Obama administration’s push for immigration reform.

Cantor said that House Republicans will not take up a Senate bill on the issue, and stated that immigration reform doesn’t have a comprehensive fix, but instead requires a “step-by-step approach” to proposed legislation for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the country. Cantor stressed that if current border and immigration laws are not being effectively enforced then the issue cannot successfully move forward with more legislation.

“Part of the reason why people are beating down the doors to get in this country is because the laws we have create the opportunity we’re about,” Cantor told CBS. “And so we want to make sure, before anything else, that there is border security and implementation of the laws.”

“And so we would like to see a clear, certain, determined ability to get the situation on the border straight and implement the laws on the interior, so that people can have faith across the country that laws are being upheld and that has got to happen first.”

Cantor said that while immigration reform is an important and divisive issue it is not more pressing than the US economy and job growth for the middle class, citing that “75 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.” He noted that President Obama’s recent comments during his State of the Union address, “When Congress doesn’t work with me, I’ll just go do it myself,” have created a level of distrust and “constitutional questions” regarding his willingness to work with people across the aisle.

Cantor highlighted the “disaster” of the president’s signature health care reform, the Affordable Care Act, as further evidence that the country and Congress have doubts about the administration’s ability to enforce successful legislation already on the books.

“This law is a disaster,” said Cantor. “In my opinion, Obamacare is on borrowed time. You know, policies are being canceled, prices are going up, access to hospitals and doctors are being limited.”

“And as we begin to see the further growth in terms of implementation of this law, you will see, I believe, more and more people negatively affected.”

The Virginia Republican expressed optimism that the president and Congress can work together moving forward, but said that Washington needs to make progress with its “spending problem” and the debt ceiling.

Pushing politics aside for a moment on Super Bowl Sunday, Cantor – who attended the same Virginia high school as Russell Wilson – said that he is cheering for the Seattle Seahawks to beat the Denver Broncos.

“All Seahawks, all the time,” said Cantor.

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