WASHINGTON – House Republicans may take a symbolic vote to voice their opposition to President Barack Obama’s immigration executive orders. The leadership outlined the plan at a House Republican Conference meeting Tuesday morning. Even if they take the vote, which conservatives aren't keen on, it’s not going anywhere. The Senate will never give it a vote as long as the Democrats are still in control.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said after the meeting that no decisions have been made about how Republicans will respond to the president's immigration orders. But the plan that is shaping up and was discussed on Monday includes two parts: spending legislation to avoid a shutdown and a resolution to oppose the executive orders.
The anti-immigration executive order vote, a resolution that is being sponsored by Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., would accompany a proposal being dubbed a “cromnibus,” which would fund most of the government through September 2015. It wouldn’t, however, fund the Department of Homeland Security, which handles immigration policy. That would be funded for only a few months, probably until the beginning of March.
Republicans argue that by waiting until March to fully fund DHS, they will have more leverage when the GOP controls both the House and the Senate come January. Congress must pass a spending bill by Dec. 11 to prevent a government shutdown.
But if the plan to hold two votes in December is supposed to keep conservatives happy, most of them aren’t buying it. Conservatives have demonstrated their ability and willingness to push back on a leadership that they don't feel represents them.
“I don’t think the voters are there,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.
Many of them have voiced opposition to the plan to fund most of the government for the remainder of the fiscal year and are trying to rally fellow Republicans to do the same. They want a showdown with the president sooner.
“If they did ask us to vote on what was presented as a probable package, I would vote no because I don’t think you fund any unconstitutional action, even if it is only for a short period of time,” said Rep. Joe Barton of Texas.
Instead, conservatives want to pass a very short-term continuing resolution that would fund the government only until the beginning of next year. Some have argued for another funding deadline as soon as Jan. 15, two weeks after they take over the Senate. Then they would be able to come back and pressure the president to reverse his immigration executive orders, instead of merely taking a symbolic vote now.
“Let’s do something very short-term and let’s wait for the majority in the Senate to change,” Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio said. “The cavalry is coming."