Jul 10, 2014 7:46 AM by Chelsea DeCesare
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Faced with a potentially awkward scene at the Texas-Mexico border, President Barack Obama sought to recast the political debate over a flood of young migrants as a question of Republican willingness to tackle the problem, not his decision to skip a chance to view the crisis first-hand.
Obama turned to one of his chief critics, Texas' Republican Gov. Rick Perry, to try to make his point.
Following a meeting with Perry in Dallas Wednesday, the president suggested there was little daylight between Perry's calls for additional assistance at the border and the nearly $4 billion request Obama sent to Congress this week. He also made a public appeal for Perry, a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2016, to wield his influence with Texas' Republican-heavy congressional delegation and press them to back the emergency spending package.
"The only question at this point is why wouldn't the Texas delegation or any of the other Republicans who are concerned about this not want to put this on a fast track and get this on my desk so I can sign it and we can start getting to work?" Obama said. He argued that opposition to the urgent spending request would be part of a pattern of obstructionism from Republicans who have also resisted moving forward on a comprehensive immigration bill.
Back in Washington, Republican opposition to the request hardened. Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, have criticized the plan as a "blank check" and Arizona Sen. John McCain voiced his opposition to the measure Wednesday.