WASHINGTON — Sen. Marco Rubio today bluntly warned that if President Barack Obama's immigration speech in Las Vegas this afternoon results in a "bidding war" to create the quickest pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers, it could doom efforts to pass immigration reform this year.
In a brief interview with BuzzFeed just hours before Obama was expected to give his immigration speech, Rubio — one of the architects of a Senate bipartisan set of reform principles — cautioned the president that he must be careful.
"I think he's the president and people want to know his opinion on it. I think if the president comes out today and says there's this bipartisan consensus on a series of principles, I think that's positive," Rubio said.
But, "If the early reports are true and the president is going to come out today and try to start a bidding war to see who comes up with the quickest way and fastest process to get to a green card, I think that's detrimental," the Republican lawmaker warned.
"Because we're trying to arrive at a solution here, and to find a solution we need a bill that will pass a Republican House and a Democratic Senate with 60 votes. And a bidding war is not going to do that."
As for Obama's expected call for LGBT couples to be given equal protections under any comprehensive reform plan, Rubio was less direct, noting that no details have been fleshed out so far in terms of how to implement the principles and that lawmakers will need to consider "what it means for [other] federal law[s], how it overlaps with the debate on DOMA and other issues" as they begin crafting legislation.