12.17.2014 1

Republican leaders must keep word on fighting executive amnesty

By Robert Romano

“[T]he House will work to keep the government open while keeping our leverage, so that when we have reinforcements in the Senate, we’re in the strongest position to take additional actions to fight the President’s unilateral actions.”

That was House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) on December 4, outlining his conference’s two-part strategy for combating President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty of 4.5 million illegal immigrants with U.S.-born children.

It included only funding those agencies that would be implementing the executive action in the Department of Homeland Security through February 27, presumably so the House and Senate could then defund the action when the 114th Congress convenes.

Now Republican leaders need to keep their word, and go through the motions.

That means there can be no action to either continually fund or authorize the amnesty. Instead, the legislation would have to be an outright prohibition of the action.

On that count, and as for specific language, leaders should consider using the amendment that was offered by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) on December 9 to the omnibus legislation in the rules committee.

That measure stated “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available, including any funds or fees collected or otherwise made available for expenditure, by this division or any other Act, or otherwise available to the Secretary of Homeland Security, for any fiscal year may be used to implement, administer, carry out, or enforce the policies,” including those from memoranda issued by the Secretary of Homeland Security on November 20, 2014 and memoranda issued by the President on November 21, 2014.

That would cover any action being taken by the White House and Homeland Security on the following subjects: “Southern border and approaches campaign; Policies for the apprehension, detention, and removal of undocumented immigrants; Secure Communities; Personnel reform for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers; Exercising prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children and with respect to certain individuals who are the parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents; Expansion of the Provisional Waiver Program; Policies supporting U.S. high skilled businesses and workers; Families of U.S. Armed Forces members and enlistees; Directive to provide consistency regarding advanced parole; Policies to promote and increase access to U.S. citizenship; Creating welcoming communities and fully integrating immigrants and refugees; [and] Modernizing and streamlining the U.S. immigrant visa system for the 21st century.”

The Mulvaney amendment had 67 supporters, 45 of whom ended up voting against the omnibus legislation. That brings the total number of Republicans who either voted against the omnibus and/or supported the Mulvaney amendment to 89 members. All of which represents very broad opposition by House Republicans to Obama’s executive amnesty.

Taking up the Mulvaney provision, or similar language that was offered by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), or a combination of the two that would unite Republicans, something sorely needed after the omnibus battle.

The alternative might be internal strife without end, and untold political consequences with the conservative base of the Republican Party.

Just ask Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Exhibit A for the irreparable damage the GOP will inflict upon itself if it toys with the amnesty issue or enables it to occur. Once a presidential hopeful, now Rubio is on nobody’s shortlist for 2016.

Why would Republicans want their own base blaming them for something that Obama did? They need to pin it back on the administration by defunding it next year in the House.

And then the same battle will need to be had in the Senate, only this time with incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at the helm. A bicameral approach is necessary if there is to be any hope to restore the constitutional separation of powers.

That is, after all, what was promised. And as Boehner noted, “This course of action is based on numerous conversations with our members, and I frankly think it gives us the best chance for success.” Now it’s time to prove it.

Early next year, Republicans have to keep their word and defund the executive amnesty, and if Obama vetoes it, then hold votes to override the veto, and hold every member who votes the wrong way accountable to their constituents. Anything less will likely be viewed as a surrender on the issue.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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