By Peter Schroeder - 07/31/14 12:27 PM EDT
President Obama would cement his “legacy of lawlessness” if he takes further executive action on immigration, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday.
One day after the House voted to authorize a lawsuit against the president, Boehner threatened that Obama would only bolster their case for executive overreach if he took more unilateral steps to reduce deportations.
Boehner’s comments came hours before the House is set to vote on a pair of bills related to the influx of child migrants over the border. First, the House is set to vote on a $659 million border funding bill that includes several policy changes aimed at speeding up the processing and deportation of those who came across the border illegally.
And GOP leaders added a second bill to the mix late Wednesday in an effort to win enough conservative support to pass the funding package. It would limit the president’s ability to slow deportations under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Boehner said the second measure “makes clear the House’s position. No more unilateral action by the president.”
But he stopped short of predicting the House would definitely pass border legislation on Thursday before it breaks for a five-week recess.
“I believe it’s important for us to act, and I’m hopeful that we will,” he said.
Some conservatives, like Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), remain wary about the House package and are concerned that the new DACA language is not strong enough.
King told reporters Thursday that he did not think the border package could pass the House with just Republican votes. House Democrats are actively whipping against the bill, and only a handful are expected to vote to approve it.
Boehner said House Republicans would fiercely oppose any effort by Senate Democrats to amend the House border bill by including a comprehensive immigration reform package the chamber passed earlier in the year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) threatened such a move earlier in the week, which Boehner was quick to criticize at the time.
Boehner dismissed the approach as “nutso” Thursday.
“I’ll say it one more time. The House will not take up the Senate immigration bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion,” he said. “Any attempt to exploit this crisis, and these kids, by adding such measures will run into a brick wall here in the people’s House.”