House border bill in trouble

From The Hill, By Alexander Bolton07/30/14 09:56 PM EDT
Texas Senator Ted Cruz

Texas Senator Ted Cruz

An emergency border spending package backed by the House GOP leadership appeared to be in trouble Wednesday evening after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) met with a group of House conservatives.

House conservatives emerging from a late evening meeting in Cruz’s office said they would oppose the $659 million legislation and warned it might fail on the House floor, an embarrassing prospect for the new GOP leadership team.

“It doesn’t sound like the Granger bill has the votes to pass,” said Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), who plans to vote against the border package endorsed by his leadership.House leaders scrambled Wednesday evening to save the bill by promising conservatives a chance to vote on separate language curtailing President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

They are also discussing legislation that would prevent Obama from easing deportations through executive action.

“There’s just a sense that they’re maneuvering in different ways to gather enough votes to pass something,” Fleming added. “For most of us conservatives, we’re unlikely to support it without [DACA] reform.

“Most of us feel like DACA is the main problem here. That’s what started this whole show and why we have such a disaster,” he said.

The pending bill favored by House GOP leaders includes $659 million in emergency funds to shore up federal agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol, both of which are projected to run out of money before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

It also includes policy changes recommended by the working group headed by Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas). One such proposed change would speed up the processing and deportation of unaccompanied minors from Central America, shortening the timeframe to as quickly as a week. It would also deploy National Guard to the Southern border and increase the number of immigration judges handling asylum requests from Central American refugees.

Cruz argues these policy changes will not stem the surge of unaccompanied minors across the Texas border and a group of House conservatives agree with him.

After meeting with Cruz Wednesday, conservatives expressed reluctance to support the leadership bill without reforms drastically curtailing DACA.

They note that since 2012, when Obama halted the deportation of illegal immigrants who came to the country at a young age, the number of child immigrants has spiked.

“It’s not as attractive to me without DACA reform,” said Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas). “I’ve heard a number of members say that DACA they think is an important part of this solution.”

Conservatives said they will get a vote on legislation sponsored by Cruz and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) that would also halt federal funding for DACA and bar illegal immigrants from working.

Some House conservatives, however, said merely getting a vote on stopping DACA would not be enough to win their support for the bill crafted by Granger and the GOP leadership. They want the two proposals fused. They also want a provision that would block Obama from further halting deportations through executive action, a change pro-immigrant advocates such as Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) have demanded.

Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), who attended the meeting with Cruz, said the two proposals should be joined together.

“What I’m hearing is that you’re going to have two votes tomorrow. One on the Appropriations Committee’s bill which has the Granger policy attached to it and have a second vote on the Blackburn bill that deals with DACA and prevents the president from legalizing the five million [illegal immigrants] he’s talking about legalizing in August.

“I hope they marry the two, frankly,” Broun said.

The House Rules Committee postponed action on setting up a vote on the border bill while GOP leaders hustled to make sure they had enough votes to pass it.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (N.Y.), the senior Democrat on the panel, said it appeared stalled.

“We’re on stand-by,” Slaughter said. “The last thing I heard as I left the floor is they have no agreement whatever, as a matter of fact, … we may be here most of the night trying to find some conclusion.”

The White House has threatened to veto the legislation and as of Thursday evening, only one Democrat, Rep. Henry Cuellar, was on The Hill’s  whip list of lawmakers intending to vote for it.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the House Democratic Whip, told reporters Wednesday that only a few Democrats would vote yes.

That means the GOP leadership cannot afford much more than 20 defections on the bill.

Eleven conservatives met with Cruz over a pizza dinner Wednesday evening.

The other attendees were Reps. Steve King (R-Iowa), Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.), Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), Steve Stockman (R-Texas), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Blackburn.

Mike Lillis contributed. 

This post was updated at 10:32 p.m.

Read more:
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook


2 responses

  1. Senator_Blutarsky

    “Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
    – James Madison (Speech at the House of Representatives, Dec. 10, 1794)

    “………….would not be enough to win their support for the bill crafted by Granger and the GOP leadership ”

    Typical pathetic rubberstamp Kay Granger – a mindless drone for the RNC and the “establishment” RINOs and neoconservatives.

    Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them
    Matt 7:20

  2. Senator_Blutarsky

    Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) denounced the House Republican border bill as a “surrender to a lawless president” because the legislation does not include any language to prevent President Obama from expanding his unilateral legalization of illegal immigrants.

    Here’s the statement:

    The Obama Administration has openly declared its plan to implement a unilateral executive amnesty for 5–6 million more illegal immigrants. This unlawful amnesty—urged on by congressional Democrats—would include work permits, taking jobs directly from millions of struggling American citizens.

    Any action Congress might consider to address the current border crisis would be futile should the President go forward with these lawless actions. Congress must speak out and fight against them. It must use its spending power to stop the President’s executive amnesty.

    That the House leaders’ border package includes no language on executive actions is surrender to a lawless President. And it is a submission to the subordination of congressional power.

    After years of falling wages and rising joblessness, American workers are pleading for someone to hear them. How can it be that our President is brazenly advertising that he will nullify and strip away American workers’ immigration protections, and their own elected leaders will not rise to their defense? Or to the defense of our laws and our Constitutional order?

    There are other grave concerns with the Granger package as well: because it does not fix our asylum rules and loopholes, the end result of the additional judges and hearings will be more illegal immigrants gaining asylum and access to U.S. welfare. It is a plan for expedited asylum, not expedited removal.

    Nor will this package make our rogue President actively enforce anything, coming nowhere close to the kinds of reasonable enforcement activities needed to restore the interior application of our immigration laws.

    And finally, a package that is silent on blocking amnesty creates an opportunity for Senate Democrats to add elements of their party’s open borders and mass immigration agenda.

    This legislation is unworthy of support.

%d bloggers like this: