House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) insists that the Senate must act to fund the Department of Homeland Security, since the House has already passed a bill.
“I just think it’s outrageous that Senate Democrats are using the Department of Homeland Security funding for blackmail to protect the actions of the president, where the president himself said he didn’t have the authority to do this,” Boehner told reporters Thursday.
Congress is facing a Friday deadline to fund DHS or the department would shut down. Last month, the House passed a DHS funding bill that also blocks President Obama’s executive amnesty. Senate Democrats prevented debate on the House-passed bill for much of the month of February.
This week, however, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) moved to have a vote on a DHS bill free of the immigration provision, succumbing to the demands of Democrats. And while there is incongruity in the strategy between the House and Senate GOP, Boehner argued the battle is not among Republicans.
“It is not a fight amongst Republicans. All Republicans agree we want to fund the Department of Homeland Security and we want to stop the president’s executive actions with regard to immigration,” Boehner stressed.
Boehner says Congress has a role to play in halting the president’s executive amnesty, even as the courts have temporarily blocked Obama’s actions.
“The courts have stopped the president’s executive action at least temporarily, but having said that I think there is a role for Congress to play in defending the Constitution and upholding the rule of law. And we intend to do that,” he said.
When asked if it is difficult for him as a legislator to “hold the line” and not compromise, Boehner replied, “not at all.”
It’s not hard at all. The President said, 22 times that he did not have the authority to make these changes in law and yet he did it anyway. The Congress of the United States cannot look the other way and act like it didn’t happen. The courts aren’t looking the other way. This is a violation of our Constitution. It’s a violation of the balance of powers in our Constitution and it needs to be addressed and we’re doing it.
The Ohio lawmaker would not tip his hand, however, about what House Republicans will do next.
“If they produce something we’ll decide what we’re going to do once we see it,” he said.
When asked about the likely prospect that the Senate returns a “clean” bill, the Speaker responded with a kiss and said, “when we make decisions I’ll let you know.”