WASHINGTON, D.C.–While some of the House’s most conservative immigration hawks have signaled support for the expected border package, Louisiana Republican Rep. John Fleming remains skeptical and says that he is aware of about five or six other members who feel the same way.
“I’m aware of about five or six who feel the way I do, that they are very concerned that DACA could fail in light of the border bill passing and that that would be a big mistake,” Fleming said Friday referring to the bill that would target President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Fleming, however, declined to name names.
The Louisiana Republican acknowledged that the new proposals are better than the initial bills but said “it hasn’t reached the threshold for” him to support the plan.
“I’m waiting get the actual language that they promised on that, it’s certainly much better. The problem is that the plan, unless they’ve changed the plan, is that the border bill vote would be first, the DACA fix would be second. Well, what if the border bill passes, but the DACA bill doesn’t pass? That means we’ve appropriated money to the border to fix the president’s mess, but we never stopped the underlying problem that caused it,” Fleming said. “I don’t think my constituents are going to like that at all.”
He said he would like either the bills to be combined or have a vote on the DACA legislation first. Fleming added he would vote no if neither option occurred.
When asked about the conservative members — such as Iowa Rep. Steve King and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann — who went from “no”s to “yes”s with the changes to the bill, Fleming said he was more focused on the “bigger picture.”
“First of all remember this bill will never be signed into law as it is. So the high water mark for this is it is nothing more than political cover for members. That’s the best we’re going to get,” he said, adding that the focus should be on Obama’s failures.
Fleming noted that the only way he would vote for the border bill if he knew the DACA bill would pass.
“Now if we see DACA fail today, and then we pass a border bill, what is that message? The message is that we’re willing to try to fix President Obama’s malicious activities on the border, but we’re not willing to stop the underlying causes of that, which is his DACA memorandum,” he said.
Fleming said he asked GOP leadership to schedule the DACA vote first, and was told it was impossible, which gave him reason to believe it might not pass. However, he did say leadership is whipping support for the DACA bill and has tried to enlist him in the effort.
In June 2013, an amendment from King to essentially defund DACA passed the House 224-201, with only six Republicans voting against it. Those Republicans were Reps. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Jeff Denham (R-CA), Michael Grimm (R-NY), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and David Valadao (R-CA).
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who didn’t vote on the King amendment in 2013, has also said he will vote no on the DACA bill to be offered today.
Three Democrats also voted yes on the King amendment: Reps. John Barrow (D-GA), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), and Nick Rahall (D-WV).