Will Obama risk homeland security over his immigration plan?
John Boehner gave a speech today that I could have written for him about Obama’s lawless immigration actions.
The speech hit all the right notes in connection with passage of a House funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security which blocks using funds for Obama’s executive immigration plan.
That plan, devised by the White House, unilaterally creates a new class of people effectively exempt from being penalized for immigration violations by inventing a process to obtain legal status found nowhere in the immigration laws. It is not executive or prosecutorial discretion as to better implementing current law—it is a rejection of current law.
Here is a partial transcript from Boehner’s website:
“Let me thank all my colleagues who have worked to put this bill together. Today I rise – and the House rises – to support and defend our Constitution.
“We do not take this action lightly, but simply there is no alternative. This is not a dispute between the parties, or even between the branches of our government. This executive overreach is an affront to the rule of law and to the Constitution itself.
“I appreciate all the efforts of those working to fix our broken immigration system, especially since I’m one of them. But what we are dealing with is a president who has ignored the people, has ignored the Constitution, and even his own past statements.
“In fact, on at least 22 occasions, he said he did not have the authority to do what he has done.
“To think that the president of the United States studied constitutional law is one thing …. he taught it as well. But now his actions suggest he’s forgotten what these words even mean.
“Enough is enough. By their votes last November, the people made clear they want more accountability from this president. And by our votes here today, we will heed their will, and we will keep our oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.”
All well and good. But some House Republicans were against the blocking action, as reported by National Journal, which described the opposition as the “moderates”:
Republican moderates fired a shot across the bow of House GOP leaders Wednesday, warning them not to push too far in their battle against President Obama’s immigration policies.
The House voted 236-191 to approve a measure funding the Homeland Security Department while simultaneously defunding President Obama’s unilateral action to provide temporary deportation deferrals and work permits to millions of undocumented immigrants. But an earlier vote, on an amendment blocking Obama’s 2012 executive order providing deportation deferrals to undocumented immigrants who arrived to the U.S. as children, was tighter, with 26 Republicans joining every Democrat to oppose the language.
Those votes could be even more crucial going forward, when House Republicans enter negotiations with their Senate counterparts and Obama on a final Homeland Security bill. If GOP leaders go too far in catering to their conservative immigration bloc, they could drive those moderates away—and imperil their reelections in 2016.
Will Senate Republicans go along? Lindsay Graham and some others are already blaming House Republicans for any consequences:
Sen. Lindsay Graham warned his GOP colleagues against connecting funding for the Department of Homeland Security with an effort to undermine President Barack Obama’s immigration overhaul.
“To my Republican colleagues, we’re playing with fire here. We need a robust homeland security budget now,” the South Carolina Republican said in an interview Monday on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”
And will they get enough Democratic votes in the Senate? And when Obama vetoes it, will Republicans capitulate under the threat of being blamed for shutting down homeland security?
If Obama closed WWII Memorials and other high profile symbols of government, what will he do this time to make sure Republicans take the blame?
And what is the likelihood Republicans will hold firm?
In the dozens of radio interviews I’ve done about Obama’s immigration plan, I’m always asked “What can Congress do?”
My answer is that ultimately, Congress only can use the power of the purse, but that I didn’t think Republicans had the stomach for it after October 2013.
We’ll see if I’m right.DONATE
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