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Ryan rules out quick immigration reform: ‘I don’t think we can trust the president on this’

Paul Ryan

Newly sworn-in Speaker of the House Paul Ryan waves to colleagues after his election to the leadership position on Oct. 29. 

(Win McNamee / Getty Images)

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Sunday he will not consider or negotiate an immigration reform bill during President Obama’s tenure, ruling out calls to revive the issue in an effort to broaden GOP appeal to Latino voters before the 2016 election.

Ryan, who was elected speaker last week, said he had promised the  conservative House Freedom Caucus, which opposes easing immigration laws, that he would not move forward on the issue before a new president takes office.

Ryan, who appeared on five major TV talk shows, blamed Obama, not the caucus, however.

“I don’t think we can trust the president on this issue,” Ryan said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The president has proven himself untrustworthy on this issue because he tried to unilaterally rewrite the law himself. Presidents don’t write laws. Congress does.”

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In 2013, the Senate passed an ambitious immigration reform package that had bipartisan support and was backed by the White House. But the bill died when the GOP-controlled House refused to take it up.

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After the bill died, the president took two executive actions to suspend deportation of some immigrants who have lived in the United States for several years and had clean records. Those who came forward could have obtained work permits.

The president stressed that his actions were limited and were authorized under the law.

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But a federal judge in Texas blocked the larger order from taking effect, and since July, the administration has been awaiting a decision from a federal appeals court in New Orleans.  

Ryan, who was the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2012, said he would press a “very specific and bold agenda” to break the legislative deadlock in Congress.

“We have been too timid for too long around here. We have been bold on tactics, but not on policy, not on an agenda,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“That is the kind of leadership I think people are hungry for here,” he added.

Ryan said he did not watch Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate, but that he would easily support any of the 14 candidates against the Democratic front-runner.

“Every one of these people would be a far better president than Hillary Clinton,” he said.

Twitter: @DavidGSavage

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