Republicans on Capitol Hill began to lash out at President Obama Wednesday after he announced plans to unveil executive actions on immigration in a prime-time address Thursday evening.
“The president is throwing this nation into a crisis and we have an obligation to do our duty, here, and in the Senate,” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told reporters.
Obama purposely timed the announcement, King said, to coincide with lawmakers leaving Washington Thursday for Thanksgiving recess. King said he’s staying behind in Washington to deal with the issue.
“I decided in an instant, I’m staying,” he said.
“I don’t want to go down that path. We have lived through that and it put the nation through a lot of trauma,” he added.
Some Republicans expressed frustration that Obama invited only Senate and House Democrats to dinner Wednesday evening to huddle before the announcement.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said the fact that Republicans were not invited signals that Obama is creating “the beginning of a political campaign” that provokes “partisan warfare” and not a bipartisan agreement.
“Why would you do this on the eve of Thanksgiving, going into holidays, unless you want to create a political fight?" Cole asked. "I mean I’m mystified by the political calculus."
Republicans should have been included in Wednesday’s dinner, said Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).
“I think that’s endemic of how the president has run his office,” she said. “He has been unwilling to reach out to Republicans.”
Bachmann called Obama “cynical” for issuing the order after the midterm elections when so many Democrats faced tight reelection races.
“He chose not to do this before the election because he knew his party would take an absolute drubbing at the polls,” she said. “In all likelihood, Scott Brown would have won his race in New Hampshire. In all likelihood, that would have caused Ed Gillespie to win in Virginia.”
Bachmann and King both support the push to defund Obama’s immigration action through legislation that’s separate from a main government spending bill to avert a full government shutdown.
While Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) said he’s “bothered when somebody tries to pass laws through executive actions,” he said it’s not worth another government shutdown.
“I don’t advocate that. I think that is a mistake,” he said.
Defunding the action through the appropriations process “is a hard place to solve this problem,” he added, but “not impossible.”
Asked if he’s more concerned about the executive order or the GOP’s reaction, Stivers didn’t seem too worried.
“I sleep like a baby at night. I don’t worry about it too much. Everybody has to do what they think is right and it’ll all work itself out.”