House Republicans are prepared to rebuke President Barack Obama over immigration, with a vote on legislation that declares his recent executive actions “null and void and without legal effect.”
But even supporters acknowledge that the bill by Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., is mostly meant to send a message, since it stands little chance in the Senate — which remains under Democratic control until January — and would face certain veto by Obama.
Instead, its passage Thursday would set the stage for the real showdown over legislation to keep the government running past Dec. 11, when a current funding measure expires. Conservatives are demanding language in the spending bill that would block Obama’s move to defer deportations and grant work permits to more than 4 million immigrants here illegally.
Republican leaders fear such spending-bill language could court an Obama veto and even a government shutdown — something they’re determined to avoid after their resounding midterm election victories last month left them with a desire to show voters they can govern responsibly.
The Yoho bill is part of House GOP leadership’s two-part strategy to appease conservative immigration hardliners incensed about Obama’s moves on immigration. The hope was that after registering their disapproval of Obama’s executive actions with a vote on Yoho’s bill — which says Obama is acting “without any constitutional or statutory basis” — Republicans would move on next week to vote on legislation to keep most of the government running for a year, with a shorter time frame for the Homeland Security Department, which oversees immigration.
But the approach doesn’t go far enough for some conservatives who are insisting on specific spending-bill language to strip any money for Obama’s move.
“We aren’t, with our vote, going to give him one dime to execute his illegal action, and we believe the American people are going to stand with us,” said Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.
Losing conservative support, GOP leaders may have to turn to Democrats to help pass the spending bill. They are working to make some changes in response to conservative concerns, but the outcome is uncertain.
Meanwhile, the Yoho bill would put the House on record against Obama. But conservative Republicans appeared notably indifferent to it.
“What am I going to do, vote against it?” said Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C. “It’s a good bill. I think it has nothing to do with the larger discussion.”
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