President Obama’s announcement tonight may bring a “constitutional crisis,” in the words of Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), but Republicans in Congress haven’t the damndest idea what they’ll do about it.
As they departed the House floor, many en route to the airport for a Thanksgiving recess, many GOP lawmakers seemed as interested in explaining why options floated by colleagues from their own party wouldn’t work as denouncing what they describe as an unprecedented power grab by a president they just decimated at the ballot box.
“That’s the hundred million dollar question,” said Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), “How do you stop an inaction? That’s the tough question that I don’t have the answer to today….Just to go a step further: ‘shut the government down.’ That doesn’t stop this inaction. Don’t fund immigration service. That doesn’t stop this inaction. How do you stop this inaction?”
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers attempted to throw cold water on the idea of using spending bills to prohibit funding for employment documents for illegal aliens, saying that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is funded by fees it collects, inuring itself from a shutdown.
“To alter or change the fee matter, it would take a change of law – an authorization – to change the immigration act that setup the fee structure. It would take an act of Congress,” Rogers told reporters.
Censuring Obama, a non-binding step short of impeachment suggested by top immigration hawk Rep. Steve King (R-IA), is finding quick opposition among more senior members.
“That doesn’t stop the action of the executive order. That’s what we have to be smart about this. I think he wants us to do that. In a really weird way, I think he wants us to be fighting him on a personal level and not focused on the issues, because he got beat on the issues in the November election. If we make this about him – which I think he wants us to, that’s why he’s doing this – it’s a huge distraction on all the policy issues, [like] repealing pieces of Obamacare,” Tiberi said.
One avenue thought to hold promise even by more establishment-type Republicans is legal action, although it could take years to see resolution.
Written by JONATHAN STRONG
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