House Republicans are poised Thursday to rebuke President Obama for acting alone to change the immigration system despite concerns from conservatives that their vote will be largely symbolic.
Rep. Ted YohoTed YohoA guide to the committees: House Ryan reelected Speaker in near-unanimous GOP vote Obama's Russia report unlikely to silence doubters MORE's (R-Fla.) bill would prevent the executive branch from deferring deportations for undocumented immigrants and effectively nullify President Obama's executive action.
Yet many conservatives say it is not enough.
At a rally outside the Capitol on Wednesday, Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzGOP hasn’t reached out to centrist Dem senators Left threatens Trump-friendly senators with primary challenges Overnight Healthcare: GOP looks for ObamaCare path as right lashes out MORE (R-Texas) urged Republicans to do more than a “meaningless show vote,” and called for them to block funding for the executive actions on immigration.
“Doing what you promise doesn't mean, as it so often does in Washington, sending a really stern letter and having a meaningless show vote. Why do you think people are so frustrated with Washington? Because they recognize there are a whole lot of politicians who say one thing at home and do something different here,” Cruz said.
Many conservatives acknowledge the vote on Yoho’s bill won’t lead to anything.
“I think that a Hallmark card would be cheaper. Send the president a Hallmark card saying we don't like your immigration ideas,” said Rep. Matt SalmonMatt SalmonWestern Republicans seek new federal appeals court Arts groups gear up for fight over NEA What gun groups want from Trump MORE (R-Ariz.). “I don't think it accomplishes anything, but I'm going to support it.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidWill Republicans increase red tape in the healthcare industry? Sanders and Schumer are right: Ellison for DNC chair The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Nev.) has said he won't bring the bill up for a vote. President Obama would also veto it.
The vote on the Yoho bill is intended to build support for a spending package expected to come to the floor next week. That package would fund the government through next September, except for the Department of Homeland Security.
In another effort to win over conservatives, the bill would only fund that agency for a few months so that Republicans might have leverage in the next Congress to go after Obama’s actions.
GOP leaders in both chambers want to move the bill to prevent any possibility of a government shutdown, but several conservative lawmakers on Wednesday said they feel pressure to do more.
“It's hard for me with every major figure in our party starting with Reince Priebus down to the lowliest of members like myself having said, 'We're going to do everything we can to stop this.' And then to do nothing to stop it, really hurts,” said Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.).
Mulvaney plans to vote for Yoho’s bill, however.
“What am I going to do, vote against it?” Mulvaney said. “It's a good bill. I think it has nothing to do with the larger discussion.”
It’s unclear how many votes the GOP could lose in next week’s battle over the funding measure, though conservatives have suggested they could have dozens of votes against the plan.
Salmon estimated “more than 50” House Republicans would vote against a spending bill that doesn't include limitations on the executive action.
“I think the only thing that really has any substance is the funding. It's the only leverage that we have,” Salmon said.
Thursday's vote will give House Republicans a way to vent their frustrations with President Obama's unilateral move, and GOP leaders hope the venting will help their cause next week.
“I think it's better than nothing,” Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) said of the vote on Thursday.
—Rebecca Shabad contributed.