Incoming Senate Steering Committee chairman Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) is laying out the strategy that House Republicans should take if they want to successfully block funding for President Barack Obama’s planned executive amnesty, something that begins with passing a short-term government funding bill now that blocks federal dollars from being used to implement the president’s program.
“The House should quickly pass a short-term CR that includes language prohibiting the use of funds to implement the President’s executive action on amnesty,” Lee said in statement exclusive to Breitbart News. “The American people deserve to know where Members of Congress stand on this issue. The power of the purse is one of the tools Congress has to rein in an out-of-control executive.”
After the House passes that type of bill, Lee said, outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has two choices, since he won’t want to block funding for Obama’s amnesty in the spending bill. Reid could either shut down the government, or he could take up the House bill blocking the funding for Obama’s amnesty and try to pull that language out. Lee said:
Once the House sends over a bill funding everything in government except the President’s executive action on amnesty, then Harry Reid could ignore it and create a government spending emergency, or he could take the bill up and attempt to strip out the defunding language. In the latter case there would be a vote, and, I believe, it would be a very difficult vote for a number of Democrats. At least four Democrats have publicly stated their opposition to what the President did, and another eight Democrats have stated that they have strong concerns about the President going around Congress. So the question is, would these 12 Democrats stand by their words and show respect for the message the American people sent on Election Day, or would they side with a President who has already cost their party the majority in the Senate? I’m not so sure we know the answer to that question right now, which is exactly why the House should take this first step to send us the right bill so we can put Democrats on the record.
Lee said that either way–whether Reid has the votes to strip out the language, or if he doesn’t–Republicans win. If he does have the votes to strip the language, the new Republican-controlled Congress can block the funding for Obama’s amnesty in early 2015. If Reid doesn’t have the votes, then Obama can either veto the bill–as he has threatened to do–or sign it into law. If Obama vetoes the bill, he will have by himself shut down the government in contravention of what several Democrats in the U.S. Senate voted for right before Christmas–something that would be a political disaster for a president still reeling from his party’s horrendous showing in the 2014 midterm elections.
Now let’s assume that either Harry Reid holds a majority to strip out the language, or we pass the bill, send it to the President, and he vetoes it. At that point Republicans should continue to explore options to ensure that the government is funded and we’re taking action to hold the President accountable. A number of those options are being floated right now. Some of them are interesting and we should consider all our options. But the first step should be to send over the right bill, with the right policy, and give Senate Democrats and the President an opportunity to weigh in and be put on the record.
Incoming Senate Budget Committee chairman Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) added in a statement that since Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Reince Priebus promised to block funding for Obama’s amnesty, it’s sad to see House Speaker John Boehner cave to Obama and fund it. Sessions said in the statement:
The Chairman of the Republican Party made a promise to America on executive amnesty: ‘We can’t allow it to happen and we won’t let it happen… everything we can do to stop it we will.’ Unfortunately, the plan now being circulated in the House fails to meet that test. The executive amnesty language is substantially weaker than the language the House adopted this summer, and does not reject the central tenets of the President’s plan: work permits, Social Security and Medicare to 5 million illegal immigrants–reducing wages, jobs and benefits for Americans. Congress considered and rejected these changes to immigration law in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2014. The President’s action erases the laws Congress has passed in order to implement laws Congress has refused to pass. Now the President demands Congress fund his imperial decree and declare its own irrelevance.
Sessions said Congress should block funding for Obama’s amnesty:
That is why Congress must respond to the President’s unlawful action by funding the government but not funding illegal amnesty. This is a perfectly sound and routine application of Congressional authority. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service reports that last year’s omnibus spending bill included 16 such funding restrictions on fee-based programs. This would put the focus where it belongs: on Senate Democrats. They are the ones who should be made to choose sides–save Obama’s amnesty or save Americans’ jobs and borders.
Sessions added that Republicans win when they fight the left on immigration, and they lose when they back down, as Boehner is doing now.
“Polling shows voters believe that Americans should get preference for available jobs by almost a 10-1 margin,” Sessions said. “Republicans should not be timid or apologetic, but mount a bold defense of struggling Americans. Billions of dollars and countless hours have been spent advocating immigration policies that help everyone but the actual citizens of this country. Who will be their voice, if not us?”
Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), who unseated now former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor over Cantor’s support for amnesty in a GOP primary this year, said he’s opposing the GOP leadership plans–and expects many others to do so as well.
“The major proposals I’m hearing about would effectively fund Obama’s amnesty program until March,” Brat said in a statement to Breitbart News. “We can’t fund it at all. I agree with other conservatives who have stated that the president’s amnesty scheme is illegal, which is why we should defund it specifically and immediately while funding the rest of the government. This can and should be done.”
Brat added that Obama’s amnesty policies are “precisely” why Virginia voters elected him over Cantor.
“Obama’s overreach is precisely what the people of my district sent me here to stop,” Brat said. “They don’t want this amnesty, and they especially don’t want the president to break the law to do it.”
House GOP leadership is aggressively trying to fund Obama’s amnesty in the funding bill battle that is coming up this week in Congress, with Boehner pitching a plan to Republican members in a closed-door conference meeting on Tuesday that would do just that. The government funding portion of the Boehner plan, parts of which originated from usually conservative Reps. Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Tom Price (R-GA), would keep most of the government open until September, 2015 but would only supply monies to the Department of Homeland Security until March.
But during the conference meeting on Tuesday, several Republican members voiced opposition to what Boehner was pushing. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) said during the conference meeting that the rhetoric from the GOP about Obama’s executive amnesty doesn’t match the actions GOP is proposing to take. “At GOP Conference meeting today, Ron DeSantis said the rhetoric on the executive action and the GOP efforts to block it just don’t match,” Roll Call”s Matt Fuller Tweeted.
“It’s impossible for us to tell the American people that we’re serious about this when we’re not doing anything that is serious,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) told reporters, according to another Tweet from Fuller.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said at Conversations With Conservatives, hosted by the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday, that this doesn’t make any sense, since Republicans are taking over Congress in just a few weeks.
“The cavalry is coming,” Jordan said, according to The Hill. “Why in the world would you want to extend a CR [continuing resolution] for several months without waiting for those people [who just won elections] to get here?”
At that event, Labrador said that by enacting Boehner’s plan to separate out the bills, Republicans are surrendering to Obama.
“I think, in essence, by separating the two, you’re capitulating,” Labrador said.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) said that funding Department of Homeland Security through March and the rest of government through September with Reid’s outgoing Senate Democratic majority makes “no sense.”
“That seems way too long,” Huelskamp said. “The shorter, the better.”
Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) added that March is way too long for Obama’s DHS funding.
“Why would we extend a continuing resolution into March for DHS? Why not vote on it the first day we’re back?” Fleming said.