WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-led House may vote this week to undo President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, House Speaker John Boehner told lawmakers Tuesday as he sought to give outraged conservatives an outlet to vent over Obama’s move without shutting down the government.
The move would be mostly symbolic, since Obama would certainly veto such legislation and the Democratic-led Senate likely wouldn’t go along with it. But GOP leaders hope it will assuage Republicans furious about Obama’s two-week-old actions to shield some 4 million immigrants in this country illegally from deportation, and grant them work permits.
“We’re looking at a number of options in terms of how to address this. This is a serious breach of our Constitution,” Boehner told reporters. “It’s a serious threat to our system of government, and frankly we have limited options and limited ability to deal with it directly.”
Publicly, the speaker told reporters that Republicans were considering several options and no decision had been made, but aides and lawmakers said that he indicated during a closed-door meeting with the rank and file earlier that the vote on legislation to block Obama was the leading option. It would be on a bill by Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., aimed at blocking Obama from unilaterally allowing categories of unlawful immigrants to live and work here.
Party leaders then hope to move on next week to voting on must-pass spending legislation to keep the government running. In the wake of their midterm election victories last month to win full control of Congress, Republican leaders are eager to show they can govern responsibly without risking government shutdowns. But Obama’s administrative moves on immigration and the resulting GOP fury has created complications. Boehner floated the two-step approach as Congress reconvened after a week-long Thanksgiving recess. But there were immediate signs of opposition from immigration hard-liners who have scuttled past efforts by Boehner to address the issue.
Several conservative lawmakers said Boehner’s approach didn’t go far enough. They said they would hold out for a spending bill to include language explicitly blocking Obama’s actions from taking effect. GOP leaders fear that could scuttle the spending bill or even lead to a government shutdown.