The White House on Tuesday called on House Republicans to quickly reopen the government and turn their attention to overhauling the nation's immigration laws.
The push came after pro-immigration reform advocates marched in Washington on the National Mall earlier in the day to urge Congress to take up the issue.
"The enthusiastic demonstration of support for immigration reform this week has proven to Congress that the broad coalition behind commonsense solutions to our nation's broken immigration laws is as strong as it has ever been," said the White House in a statement.
The immigration rally, however, comes amid a government shutdown, with Republicans and President Obama deadlocked on a funding bill and a measure to raise the nation's debt limit by an Oct. 17 deadline.
"It's time for the House of Representatives to reopen the government, pay their bills, and get back to the important work of moving the economy forward," said the statement.
An immigration reform bill drafted by the bipartisan Gang of Eight passed the Senate in June. That bill creates a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, tightens border security and increases visas for skilled labor. But those measures face an uphill climb in the House, where conservative lawmakers oppose measures they deride as "amnesty" and want legislation to focus on securing the border first.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., has also said he will focus on passing immigration reform piecemeal instead of mirroring the Senate's comprehensive approach.
"It is time for House Republicans to put politics aside and join Democrats to fix our broken immigration system and make the economy stronger," said the White House.
(c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.
Original headline: White House presses GOP on immigration reform after D.C. rally
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