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Feb 19, 2013 No Comments ›› Chuck Biscuits

Jay Carney

Excerpted from The Hill: White House press secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday disputed Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) claim that nobody in the White House had ever contacted the lawmaker or his aides about the push for comprehensive immigration reform.

“We have been in contact with everyone involved in this effort on Capitol Hill,” Carney said during his press briefing Tuesday.

Carney’s remark came in response to a statement issued earlier in the morning from Rubio’s office claiming unequivocally that they had never discussed immigration reform with administration officials.

“Senator Rubio’s office has never discussed immigration policy with anyone in the White House,” Rubio spokesman Alex Conant said. “To be clear: That’s fine with us – we actually think Congress should write the policy; not the White House.”

Republicans have complained that the White House has not done enough to reach out to Capitol Hill in negotiations over immigration, gun control, and the looming sequester cuts. They accuse Obama of pandering to public opinion with campaign-style events rather than engaging in the hard work of governing.

But the White House disputes that characterization, saying it often keeps conversations with members of Congress private out of deference to the political implications.

On Tuesday, Carney said White House officials were “mindful of the requests of others” when disclosing meetings between administration and members of Congress.

“We don’t read out every meeting or conversation we have with members of Congress,” Carney said.

During an interview last weekend with ABC News, White House chief of staff Dennis McDonough also disputed Republicans who claimed they had not been contacted about immigration reform.

“We’ve been working with all the members up there. We have our staff working this very aggressively with their staffs and with the members, and we’re working this very aggressively, as you think we would with such a high priority for the country,” McDonough said. “This immigration system is broken. Border security, we’ve made great progress for the last four years. We want to build on that. And we’re going to continue to work with Sen. Rubio and others on this.”

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