House conservatives warn Boehner: Don't cave on immigration

House conservatives warn Boehner: Don't cave on immigration
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Conservative Republicans have a message for House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerA time for war, a time for peace — and always a time to defend America Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January Soleimani killing deepens distrust between Trump, Democrats MORE: You’ve stood up to President Obama’s immigration policies so far. Don’t cave now.

More than 20 conservative House members have signed onto a letter urging Boehner (R-Ohio) and his leadership team to continue fighting Obama’s executive actions on immigration, even as it threatens to shut down the Homeland Security Department at the end of the week.

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“Now is the time to stand firm against these unlawful executive actions,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter, which is being circulated by Rep. Jeff DuncanJeffrey (Jeff) Darren DuncanHouse Republicans add Jordan to Intel panel for impeachment probe House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge Overnight Energy: House moves to block Trump drilling | House GOP rolls out proposal to counter offshore drilling ban | calls mount for NOAA probe MORE (R-S.C.) and will be sent later this week to Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyCalifornia sues Trump administration over fracking Trump: Impeachment timing intended to hurt Sanders Overnight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 MORE (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).

Last month, the House passed a $40 billion bill funding DHS through September but tied it to GOP amendments defunding Obama’s unilateral actions shielding up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. But the bill went nowhere in the Senate, raising the prospects of a shutdown at the agency on Saturday.

The conservatives’ letter didn’t reference a new plan by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to split apart DHS funding and GOP efforts to gut Obama’s immigration actions into two separate bills.

Instead, the letter warned GOP leaders that a federal judge’s ruling that Obama’s immigration moves were unconstitutional should not be seen as an escape hatch from the funding standoff. An appellate court could overturn the ruling, which is being appealed by the Obama administration.

“[W]e must remember that these decisions are subject to review by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court of the United States, and the ultimate fate of the President’s executive action remains in question,” they wrote.

“For this reason, the Legislative Branch has a responsibility to use its exclusive and constitutionally-granted authority to prevent the President’s unlawful usurpation of power, without waiting for a final interpretation from the Judicial Branch,” the letter continued. “District Court rulings can be overturned, but the power of the purse is absolute.

House lawmakers return to Washington for votes Tuesday night after a weeklong recess; Republicans will huddle in a private caucus meeting Wednesday morning to discuss their options.

In addition to Duncan, at least 20 other Republicans have signed the letter: Reps. Tom McClintock (Calif.), Ryan Zinke (Mont.), Steve King (Iowa), Louie Gohmert (Texas), John Fleming (La.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Jim Bridenstine (Okla.), Mick Mulvaney (S.C.), Ted Yoho (Fla.), Bradley Byrne (Ala.), Gary Palmer (Ala.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Curt Clawson (Wash.), Matt Salmon (Ariz.), Mark Sanford (S.C.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Dave Brat (Va.), Randy Weber (Texas), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), and Martha Roby (Ala.).