Sen. Mike Crapo has a conservative voting record, but he’s no one’s idea of a bomb-thrower. The Idaho Republican toiled for years negotiating with Democrats over deficit issues with the “Gang of Six” and has a knack for bipartisan deal-making on other issues as well.
So it’s notable that on President Obama’s executive amnesty, Crapo says Congress must defend its prerogatives through upcoming spending bills, foreshadowing a major clash over the legislation despite the qualms from GOP leaders and the House Appropriations Committee Chairman, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY).
“Congress’s most significant potential avenue of dealing with that at this point would be through their power of the purse,” Crapo said in an interview with Breitbart News. “We would need to defund the executive branch operations related to the implementation of this executive order.”
Republicans are currently discussing a variety of scenarios, including a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to bridge into the next Congress, when Republican reinforcements arrive, a long-term CR and a long-term omnibus appropriations bill, which would include a much broader set of changes to spending policy than a simple CR.
Crapo would prefer to see GOP leadership enact a short-term CR and begin working on Fiscal Year 2015 appropriations bills in January, enabling them to bring the fight over Obama’s executive amnesty, which he has vowed to issue before the end of 2014, on the Homeland Security Appropriations bill.
“It would seem that would work best for a number of reasons. First of all, even though we could focus on just one bill we would actually have multiple bills to focus on. Meaning, if there were some reactions by the president that then needed to be further responded to, Congress would have that opportunity,” Crapo said.
“Secondly, if we were doing the appropriations bills in the normal order of business, then if, for example, the president vetoed one of those bills, it would not result in a complete government shutdown. If the president and Congress got into a disagreement, we could move ahead with proper policies in other appropriations bills and continue to resist the president in the specifics of the one bill which was topical,” he added.
With Obama vowing to press ahead despite the electoral drubbing he received at the ballot box last week, Republicans have been marveling at the president’s stubbornness in the face of such a dramatic defeat.
Crapo said he has two theories about why Obama refuses even to slow down as he approaches what can fairly be called a pending constitutional crisis.
One possible explanation is that “on a policy level his vision of America is so different from what the vision of the Republican majority in Congress or, frankly, the majority of the American people, that he is just going to do everything he can to cement his vision in place before he leaves office,” Crapo suggested.
“Another possible explanation could be that he sees political advantage in continuing a confrontational environment with Congress and that there’s political advantage to calling Republicans obstructionist,” he added.