Effort to block Obama's immigration executive action gains momentum

A strategy recently floated to block President Obama’s expected executive action on immigration is now gaining traction on Capitol Hill.

ADVERTISEMENT
More than 50 House Republicans have signed a letter asking the leaders on the House Appropriations Committee to include language in the upcoming spending bill that would preemptively block funding for Obama’s forthcoming executive order, which many believe could involve deferring deportations.

The letter asks for an omnibus spending bill “to prohibit the use of funds by the administration for the implementation of current or future executive actions that would create additional work permits outside of the scope prescribed by Congress.”

Senate Democrats would surely block such a bill and could therefore pose a risk of another government shutdown.

Rep. Matt SalmonMatt SalmonConservative activists want action from Trump Senators fear fallout of nuclear option Western Republicans seek new federal appeals court MORE (R-Ariz.) circulated the letter and sent it Thursday morning to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and ranking member Nita Lowey (R-N.Y.).

On Wednesday evening, Rogers said his panel was making “good progress” on the omnibus spending bill, but wouldn’t say whether he would support including immigration-related language, only calling it “premature” to discuss.

Republicans will likely debate their options at their conference meeting Thursday morning.

After multiple delays, Obama is reportedly "nearing a final decision" on immigration action, which he is expected to take by the end of the year if lawmakers don’t pass a reform measure.

Congress should use “the power of the purse” to prevent Obama from implementing his own policies unilaterally, Salmon’s letter said. Republican strategist Karl Rove raised this idea on Fox News last week.

Other Tea Party and conservative members signed onto the letter, including Reps. Trent FranksTrent FranksThe Hill's Whip List: 21 GOP no votes on new ObamaCare replacement bill How Devin Nunes suddenly fell from power Trump takes risk with Freedom Caucus attack MORE (R-Ariz.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Louie GohmertLouie GohmertThe Hill's Whip List: 21 GOP no votes on new ObamaCare replacement bill Rob Thomas: Anti-Trump celebs have become 'white noise' Members jam with Wynonna Judd, Keith Urban at Grammys on the Hill MORE (R-Texas), Steve StockmanSteve StockmanFormer congressman indicted on conspiracy charges Ex-GOP rep blames arrest on 'deep state' conspiracy Former Texas rep Steve Stockman facing conspiracy charge MORE (R-Texas), Ted YohoTed YohoThe Hill's Whip List: 21 GOP no votes on new ObamaCare replacement bill The ‘zero-for-zero' policy on sugar could be a roadmap forward for the US on trade Why an independent counsel is necessary in an election probe MORE (R-Fla.), Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) and Michele BachmannMichele Bachmann'Real Housewives' producer 'begging' Conway to join cast Ex-rep admires furs amid PETA inaugural gala Why Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog MORE (R-Minn.) —many of whom often have been influenced by Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzNet neutrality fight descends into trench warfare Secret Service: No guns at Trump NRA speech Cruz: Breaking up 9th Circuit Court ‘a possibility’ MORE (R-Texas).

Cruz declined to comment on the effort, saying, “Call my office.”

Last week, Cruz ally Sen. Mike LeeMike LeeWhat to know about Trump's national monuments executive order ObamaCare must be fixed before it collapses Trump signs order to end 'egregious abuse' of national monuments MORE (R-Utah) endorsed the idea.

“We'll do everything we can to stop him, including withholding funds from his ability to carry out that project,” Lee said on Fox News.

Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who faces Sen. Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Five unanswered questions after Trump's upset victory Pavlich: O’Keefe a true journalist MORE (D-La.) in a Dec. 6 runoff for her Senate seat, also signed on to the campaign.

On the Senate side Wednesday, lawmakers appeared divided on the options. Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsSessions on Flynn: ‘You don’t catch everything’ House panel refers Clinton server company for prosecution Sessions to keep up fight on sanctuary cities despite legal setback MORE (R-Ala.), one of the most ardent opponents to Obama’s immigration proposals, advocated the passage of a short-term spending bill instead of an omnibus spending bill.

Extending funding into next year would give the new Republican majority a better chance of blocking Obama’s actions.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he still leaned toward the omnibus and didn’t say whether he would support attaching the immigration language.

House Appropriators are expected to unveil the spending bill the week of Dec. 8, leaving Congress only a few days to debate and vote on the legislation before the current spending bill expires on Dec. 11.