On December 4, House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) outlined his conference’s two-part strategy for combating President Barack Obama’s unconstitutional 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, enabling the House and Senate, now both with Republican majorities to then defund and/or prohibit the action in 2015.
“[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,” said Boehner at the time.
Readers will recall many conservatives opposed the omnibus legislation at the time — because it didn’t defund the executive amnesty right away.
Ultimately, the bill passed, and now Boehner, flush from his victorious reelection as Speaker, needs to keep his word — as do those 216 members who voted for him. Republicans now have their reinforcements in the Senate.
So it’s time for the party to fight. The American people swept Republicans to majorities in 2014 largely because of opposition to Obama’s executive amnesty.
Many of them would have preferred to have that fight in December.
But here we are now.
Say what one will about the omnibus, at least Republican leaders only included funding through the end of February for the applicable agencies implementing the amnesty.
Meaning there’s still a chance to fight.
On that count, leaders should consider using the amendment that was offered by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) on December 9 to the omnibus legislation but never brought to the floor.
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.
Or there’s also similar language that was offered by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). Or a combination of the two that would help unite Republicans, something sorely needed after the acrimonious omnibus and Speaker election battles.
No battle may be more important to Republicans in this Congress. In a recent poll by Pat Caddell, 84 percent of GOP voters and leaners said they were less likely to support if their member votes to use taxpayer money to implement Obama’s amnesty.
Now, with Department of Homeland Security funding coming due February 27, voters will know right away whether their members kept Boehner’s word and fought the amnesty.
That is the burden of Boehner’s leadership. Executive amnesty will be his first test with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress next month. And if he leads on the issue, the American people will follow.
Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.