WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Soon after President Barack Obama announced his immigration plans on Thursday evening, Democrats and Republicans who might be angling for his job in 2016 weighed in on an issue that is almost certain to be at the center of their campaigns.
Hillary Clinton, who lost the Democratic nomination to Obama in 2008 and is expected to make a run to be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2016, issued a statement supporting Obama's plan but urging Congress to "finish the job."
It was an unusual step for Clinton, who has mainly stayed away from putting out statements on political issues since she stepped down as Obama's secretary of state in 2013.
Clinton blamed the Republican-led House of Representatives for an "abdication of responsibility" on immigration.
Republican Jeb Bush, a former two-term Florida governor who is considering entering the race, said Obama's plan "undermines" efforts to forge permanent legislative reforms.
"It is time for Republican leaders in Congress to act. We must demonstrate to Americans we are the party that will tackle serious challenges and build broad-based consensus to achieve meaningful reforms for our citizens and our future," said Bush, whose brother and father both held the office of president.
Even before Obama announced his immigration order, Republican governors at a conference in Florida were debating how best to react, looking ahead to 2016.
Several potential GOP presidential candidates such as Ohio Governor John Kasich, New Jersey's Chris Christie and Wisconsin's Scott Walker warned congressional Republicans against shutting down the U.S. government in response to Obama's actions.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Gabriel Debenedetti; Editing by Ken Wills)