Late Friday evening, the House finally passed its border funding bill after House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) had pulled it on Thursday, sent lawmakers home for recess, and then called an audible hours after to beckon them back as he and House GOP leaders scrambled to resuscitate it. The Washington Post‘s Robert Costa called the vote a “pre-recess win” for Boehner.
As Breitbart News extensively reported, conservatives got nearly everything they wanted in the supplemental bill–including prohibiting grants of temporary amnesty to DREAMers–much to the chagrin of a frustrated Republican establishment. Nonetheless, Costa tweeted that Boehner scored a “win.”
Tonight, the House voted 223-189 to approve its border security measure, giving Boehner a delayed pre-recess win
— Robert Costa (@costareports) August 2, 2014
Boehner needed to get a bill passed before Obama potentially enacts his executive amnesty, especially since he is suing Obama for his lawlessness on Obamacare. He praised the “responsible” $659 million bill that dealt with the “humanitarian crisis at our southern border.” And, as Costa implied, he and his team may view it as a win on paper. But it surely must not feel like it, especially more than 24 hours after the House should have been on recess.
Simply put, the House GOP leadership had to learn the hard way not to ignore the voices of grassroots conservatives.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) urged colleagues for weeks not to vote for a border bill that does not expressly prevent Obama from enacting more executive grants of temporary amnesty and work permits–in contravention of federal law. And Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced legislation that would do that.
On Thursday morning, GOP leaders saw, as Sessions urged, grassroots conservatives melt down phone lines in Congress imploring members to vote against the initial bill.
Though GOP leaders agreed on Wednesday evening to bring a companion bill dealing with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to the floor, they diluted Blacbkurn’s original bill. When Sessions discovered that the changed language did not prevent Obama from using federal funds to enact executive amnesty–and even contained a loophole in which paroled illegal immigrants could receive work permits–Sessions rallied his colleagues to vote against it on Thursday morning.
By emphasizing that the bill would harm American workers and enable Obama to nullify federal immigration laws, Sessions convinced enough conservatives to vote against the bill. Boehner and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) realized they did not have the votes for the initial bill on Thursday afternoon. They had to feverishly work with the likes of Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on Thursday evening and Friday to make fixes that would have already been included had the GOP leadership taken grassroots conservatives more seriously.