From NBC's Betsy Cline and Domenico Montanaro
House Republican Leader John Boehner told reporters today that he "respected" Arizona's newly-passed immigration law. At a brief press conference following the weekly House Republican leadership meeting, Boehner carefully avoided saying whether or not he agreed with the law, but said, "We respect the people of Arizona and their right to write their own laws."
Rep. Eric Cantor, House minority whip and the only Jewish member in attendance, told reporters that comparisons between the Arizona legislation and Nazi Germany "smack of being inappropriate."
Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio, a Tea Party favorite, released a statement, saying he has "concerns" about the legislation, but also walking a fine line. He said, in part:
States certainly have the right to enact policies to protect their citizens, but Arizona's policy shows the difficulty and limitations of states trying to act piecemeal to solve what is a serious federal problem. From what I have read in news reports, I do have concerns about this legislation. While I don't believe Arizona's policy was based on anything other than trying to get a handle on our broken borders, I think aspects of the law, especially that dealing with 'reasonable suspicion,' are going to put our law enforcement officers in an incredibly difficult position. It could also unreasonably single out people who are here legally, including many American citizens. Throughout American history and throughout this administration we have seen that when government is given an inch it takes a mile. I hope Congress and the Obama Administration will use the Arizona legislation not as an excuse to try and jam through amnesty legislation, but to finally act on border states' requests for help with security and fix the things about our immigration system that can be fixed right now -- securing the border, reforming the visa and entry process, and cracking down on employers who exploit illegal immigrants.
Boehner also used today's press conference to cast doubt on the purpose of Obama's debt commission, which is meeting in Washington now.
"Washington doesn't have a revenue problem, Washington has a spending problem," Boehner said of the commission. "I hope this is a serious effort," he said, "and I hope it doesn't become an excuse to raise taxes."