House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) is coming under fire in conservative circles for supporting the effort by House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Appropriations Committee chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) to reach a spending deal that would fund President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty.
Scalise has represented Louisiana’s first congressional district since 2008. Last week he helped Boehner and McCarthy pass a substantively altered bill from Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) that was sold to members as a plan to stop Obama’s executive amnesty. In reality, the measure had a secret exception slipped into it that bolstered Obama’s legal argument. As Breitbart News reported over the weekend, according to Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Scalise was actually whipping votes with Republican members based on the earlier version of the bill—not based on the version of the bill that was brought up for a vote in the House.
After the dramatically changed bill passed the House, Scalise praised it as if it would prevent Obama’s executive amnesty.
“Today’s vote re-establishes the rule of law and stops the president’s lawless, unconstitutional executive action from going into effect,” Scalise said, adding:
The American people spoke loud and clear in the November elections. They want a Washington that works together on their behalf, not a go-it-alone president governing by executive fiat. I urge the president to focus on securing the border, enforcing the laws on the books, and working with us in Congress to fix our broken immigration system. I would like to thank Rep. Yoho for introducing this critical legislation and for his leadership in Congress on this issue.
Political insiders agree the measure was merely “symbolic,” and so won’t accomplish its grand-sounding goals. And Breitbart News has shown over the course of the past week that the bill wouldn’t “re-establish,” as Scalise claimed, “the rule of law.” Nor would it stop what the Whip called “the president’s lawless, unconstitutional executive action from going into effect.”
Scalise’s office hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment over several days on the Yoho bill’s ineffectiveness.
Scalise’s office also hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment over several days on whether he plans to whip votes on Boehner’s and McCarthy’s behalf for the forthcoming more-than-$1 trillion CR-omnibus spending bill package. But if he does whip votes for this, he’ll be pushing a package that supports Obama’s executive amnesty—something Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who used to hold Scalise’s House seat, noted in a recent interview with nationally syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham.
“All the members from Louisiana– they have such great respect for you– do you urge them to use the power of the purse to pull back on executive amnesty?” Ingraham asked Jindal on Friday last week.
“I would absolutely, and I’ve said this publicly and will continue to say it: we need to use every tool we can in Congress to force the president to follow the Constitution, absolutely,” Jindal responded.
George Rasley of Richard Viguerie’s ConservativeHQ told Breitbart News that if anyone—including Scalise—provides any material support for Obama’s executive amnesty by backing Boehner’s omnibus bill, that person is personally responsible for Obama’s executive amnesty.
“Last year during the Obamacare funding fight Sarah Palin said if you fund it you own it,” Rasley said in an email. “The same principle applies in spades to the Omnibus. If you vote for it you own everything in it; Obamacare, Obama’s war on coal, amnesty, all of it.”
Numbers USA, an anti-amnesty group, is scoring a vote for the omnibus as vote for amnesty. So that group would consider it supporting amnesty if Scalise whips votes for the omnibus.
It’s worth noting that conservative Col. Rob Maness lives in Scalise’s Louisiana congressional district. Maness could end up deciding to launch a bid against him in the coming months, as Dave Brat did in ousting Eric Cantor of Virginia. In a recent interview with Breitbart News before all the details of this omnibus came up, Maness told Breitbart News he’s getting ready to launch a major hybrid PAC.
“I’ve established a new hybrid PAC called Gator PAC,” Maness, who secured 200,000 votes statewide in the Nov. 4 U.S. Senate election, said then. He adds:
It’s a hybrid, so part of it is a Super PAC. We’re going to focus on Constitutional conservative candidates who have not been active in politics before. We’re going to focus them not just at the local and state level, but also at the federal level. And also focus on folks who just want to be involved in the party and maybe want to be on the state central committee or maybe want to be on the executive committee at the parish level or run for councilman or mayor or those kinds of things. Constitutional conservatism is really what America is all about. It offers solutions that are away from these partisan extremes that people really can’t come to the table over. That’s what I’ve tried to focus on my entire campaign. I want to focus on that moving forward and give constitutional conservatives a voice in the Republican Party at the state and federal level.
Maness’ team wouldn’t comment when asked about whether he’d challenge Scalise in a primary. But polling data shows that Louisiana voters considered stopping Obama’s amnesty the most important issue in Cassidy’s recent election to the U.S. Senate.
Maness’ support for Cassidy over outgoing Democrat Mary Landrieu was crucial to Cassidy’s win and he’s gotten extraordinarily close with many top Republicans in the state. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), one of the biggest opponents of Boehner’s omnibus deal that funds Obama’s amnesty and the likely next governor of Louisiana, and Maness have gotten very close lately. Like Jindal, Vitter used to represent Louisiana’s first district in the House before Scalise too.
Boehner has put some of his other top House GOP lieutenants at risk as well. Katrina Pierson, a conservative who ran against House Rules Committee chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), told Breitbart News that she’s considering another run against Sessions after he pledged to push amnesty and helped enable the GOP leadership’s deception of members on the Yoho bill. Viguerie’s ConservativeHQ has publicly stated that Sessions is a “primary target” for conservatives in 2016 already because of his actions on this front.
House Appropriations Committee chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) has drawn the ire of Tea Partiers in Kentucky, who are actively searching for a primary challenger for him at this time. Ingraham said on her radio program, too, that she’s planning on targeting Rogers in 2016 and is launching her own search for a suitable primary challenger.