Boehner Border Bill Down to the Wire

UPDATE: House leadership postponed the vote on the border crisis bill, bringing up debate on a highway bill at the time the vote had been scheduled.

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A last-minute plan from Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to provide conservatives a vote on a bill attempting to keep President Obama from unilaterally granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens has already run into fierce resistance from the very people it was intended to placate, leaving passage of the main border crisis bill in doubt.

This morning, only hours after the plan was released, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Rep. Steve King (R-IA), NumbersUSA, and the Federation for American Immigration Reform have all come out with brutal assessments of new version of the Obama-focused legislation that will receive a vote only if House Republicans pass the main border package.

“The Blackburn language that I introduced before the Rules Committee is not the same language that's coming before the floor,” said King, referring to Rep. Marsha Blackburn's (R-TN) House companion to a bill from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) intended to stop further immigration orders from Obama.

King focused his criticism on an exemption in the new version of the bill for aliens that receive parole, noting that liberal legal experts have previously pointed to parole as a possible mechanism for a large-scale executive amnesty.

Blackburn, however, said the new leadership plan was sufficient for her to vote for the main border bill crisis.

And a spokeswoman for Cruz welcomed the change in tack from Boehner, who had previously been resisting addressing Obama's “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program at all.

“Sen. Cruz has made DACA an essential element of this debate from the beginning, and it's very encouraging that the House has taken action to elevate the issue,” Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for Cruz, said.

The situation in the House is fluid, but the morning clearly revealed that passage of the main bill is in doubt.

As a sign of how deeply the crisis on the southern U.S. border has penetrated the politics of immigration on Capitol Hill, a Democratic lawmaker said he was voting against Boehner's main bill because of his opposition to “amnesty.”

“Basically, because of the amnesty provisions. I'm not for any amnesty,” said Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), a senior Democrat facing a tough reelection battle.

Although critics on the right have ripped the Boehner border bill on a number of fronts, not even the scathing reports from FAIR or NumbersUSA have deemed the bill itself “amnesty.”


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