House Republican leaders are considering funding the Department of Homeland Security through the first few months of next year in order to allow the next Congress—and new Republican-controlled Senate—to rebuke the President on his recent decision to defer deportations for up to five million undocumented immigrants.
Announced Tuesday morning before the House Republican conference, the plan would fund all aspects of the government through September 2015 with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security, which enforces Obama’s executive action. Congress must pass a government funding bill by Dec. 11 to avert a government shutdown.
The proposal was met with mixed reviews from Republican members, some of whom prefer a plan to fund the entire government through the next fiscal year and others who are looking at other ways to express their frustration, including a disapproval resolution officially stating that Obama doesn’t have sufficient legal authority to carry out the executive action. House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that “no decisions have been made at this point.”
“I don’t think there’s enough support for it yet,” said Florida Republican Rep. Dennis Ross, a member of the whip team designated to drum up votes. “I think we’ve got to flesh some of that out. I think the members by and large are leaning that way … But I think there’s some questions that need to be answered by some of the more conservative ones who want to vote for it but I think they’re wrestling over what the details are going to be.”
Republicans have few options outside of supporting bipartisan immigration reform to counter the President’s executive action. A lawsuit would most likely fail, according to prominent legal scholars, and Obama holds the veto pen. Even when dealing with must-pass legislation, like the package of bills to fund the government, Republicans know they can’t overplay their hand and threaten a government shutdown that would bolster the President.
“There’s no doubt we’re in a box here,” said Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger. “We’re in a tough position.”
The Republican plan will face opposition from the Administration and from Democrats, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who said last week that “we will not be enablers to a Republican government shutdown, partial or otherwise.” DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a hearing Tuesday that a short-term spending bill through March would be a “very bad idea” as it would hamper border security efforts.