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Obama 'Optimistic' Immigration Bill Will Pass This Year, But Paul Ryan Says It's Unlikely

AP Photo / Ron Sachs

"If they want to chop that thing up into five pieces, as long as all five pieces get done, I don't care what it looks like," Obama said. "What we don't want to do is simply carve out one piece of it…but leave behind some of the tougher stuff that still needs to get done."

It didn't take long for a top Republican to offer a less rosy outlook. Following Obama's interview, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) told the CEO Council that there's “literally not enough time to do it” in 2013.

“If we are trying to cram and rush just because it’s the calendar year, we don’t think that’s responsible,” Ryan said.