Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has thrown his public support behind House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to fund President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty order through March.
“That would be a big accomplishment if we could get a bill over here that would fund all the appropriations subcommittees except for one,” Reid told reporters on Tuesday, according to The Hill. “I think it’s kind of unfortunate that they’re talking about not doing Homeland Security, but that’s the way it is.”
On Tuesday morning, in a closed-door GOP conference meeting, Boehner pitched House Republicans on a plan to fund Obama’s amnesty in the upcoming spending bill battle. 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 Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), in an exclusive for Breitbart News, laid out a different pathway forward that puts the ball back in Reid’s court. Lee’s plan is to have the House Republicans block funding for Obama’s amnesty now, and then force Reid to either shut down the government or take up the House bill blocking the funding for Obama’s amnesty and try to pull that language out.
If Reid does have the votes to strip the language under Lee’s plan, 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.
Incoming Senate Budget Committee chairman Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) put out a statement on Tuesday signaling he supports what Lee is pushing, and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) did as well.
Vitter said in a statement directed to push House Republicans to lead the way on this fight, rather than surrender as Boehner wants to do:
President Obama’s executive amnesty is illegitimate, unconstitutional, and flat out bad policy – I think all House Republicans agree with that. The weight is on their shoulders to act, and they can by prohibiting federal funds from being used for the President’s efforts. A funding bill that blocks amnesty is the best, smartest way to do this, and I hope they realize this in the first go around before they send a bill to the Harry Reid Senate that funds amnesty. Make no mistake, sending a bill to the Senate without first making an attempt to include defund language is telling the American people that you support Obama’s executive amnesty. That would be a slap in the face to the voters who sent a message last month by electing Republican majorities in Congress.
Reid’s support for Boehner’s plan before a vote is even scheduled–it could come up for a vote this week, or may early next week–could be the kiss of death Republicans seek to block funding for Obama’s amnesty and thereby stop Boehner’s efforts and need to get it done.
On Tuesday, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) took the House floor for a full hour to berate the GOP establishment for pushing this plan. Gohmert said in part on the House floor
Now that the president has taken this unconstitutional action, America is looking at Republicans. You said you were against it. You ran and we elected you to the majority in the House and Senate, and you said you would not abide such an unconstitutional action, so what are you going to do about it? Well, one of the things that’s been proposed by my dear friend Ted Yoho–sometimes people say ‘dear friend’ around this body a bit tongue in cheek, but that’s not [what I mean about] Ted Yoho, he’s a great American, and I’m very proud he’s my friend.
Gohmert then read the details of Yoho’s bill, which alongside parts of a plan from (also) usually reliably conservative Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), has become part of Boehner’s grand plan to fund Obama’s amnesty.
He called Yoho’s bill a “great first step” but added that the “problem” with it is “if we do not eliminate the funding for the president’s unconstitutional action, then it may be carried out anyway.”
“There’s some talk about extending funding to next March,” Gohmert said. “Well, by March, people will already have been provided work permits when the law says they cannot legally be provided work permits. It’s not likely anything would be done at that point to stop it.”