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Portman: Republicans will sue if Obama moves on immigration

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said Wednesday that he thinks Republicans will file lawsuits if President Obama moves ahead with executive orders giving legal status to millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

“I think there’ll be lawsuits filed,” Portman said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

{mosads}But there will be no government shutdown, he said.

“There may be talk, but no one in the leadership on the Republican side wants to see a shutdown,” he said.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is reportedly considering adding any executive actions on immigration to a lawsuit that House Republicans are already proposing against Obama. 

GOP leaders have also discussed a separate lawsuit on immigration, according to The Washington Post.

Republicans in the House are considering two options to try to prevent Obama from carrying out executive actions on immigration. 

Under one scenario, they would pass a government funding bill but exclude funds for agencies that would carry out the order. 

But that risks at least a potential shutdown of the government. 

Pressed on if there will be a shutdown, Portman said, “No, even if [Obama] were to do it before Dec. 11, which is when we have to kind of re-up the continuing resolution to fund the government, you could take just the parts on immigration and say, ‘Let’s just put that off for a month and see what happens.’ “

The current measure funding the government runs through Dec. 11. 

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said earlier Wednesday on the program that Republicans are looking for “creative ideas” to avert a shutdown, without going into detail.  

Portman, seen as a more centrist member of the Senate and a possible presidential candidate in 2016, held out hope that Republicans could work with Obama on the issue. 

“Let’s be sure that Republicans also work with him on this,” he said. “We have to have better enforcement; we have to deal with the people who are here; we all know that. Let’s try to work together, rather than make it almost impossible. He’ll poison the well if he does it.”

Portman, who voted against the immigration bill the Senate passed last year, said that bill could have passed the current House, but might not in the new one arriving in January.

“In the new Congress, I don’t know, Joe. It probably would have in the old Congress, but I don’t know that it would in the new Congress,” he told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough.

But he agrees with Boehner’s decision not to bring the Senate bill up for a vote in the House, saying there needs to be more enforcement.

Tags Boehner John Boehner Rob Portman

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