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House Plans a Vote to Block Obama’s Immigration Order

7 Jan

(Bloomberg) — House Republicans plan to vote next week on legislation to block President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, days before the president’s State of the Union address on Jan. 20.

The tentative plan announced today would seek to block the actions while providing funding for other immigration activities, said Representatives Charles Boustany and John Fleming, both of Louisiana, after House Republicans held their weekly private meeting.

“The president’s executive actions with regard to immigration are outside of the Constitution and outside of his powers,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters. “We can deal with that issue in the Department of Homeland Security bill without jeopardizing the security of our country.”

“The hope is that we could file a bill Friday, in time for it to come to the floor Tuesday or so next week.”

Representative Hal Rogers

Obama announced Nov. 20 he was easing deportation rules to allow as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. For years, Congress has been unable to agree on legislation to address such immigrants.

Republicans insisted last month on funding the Homeland Security Department, which is responsible for immigration, only through February so they could return to the issue this year.

The Republicans’ provision would be attached to a spending bill to finance the agency through Sept. 30, the end of the 2015 fiscal year.

Lawmakers’ Meeting

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers of Kentucky and Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas met with about 20 fellow Republicans today to discuss a strategy. Several lawmakers said afterward they want to settle on a plan by Friday.

Among the proposals under consideration is one by Representative Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina to defund Obama’s November executive actions. That measure is backed by Matt Salmon of Arizona, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Ron DeSantis of Florida. Also in the mix is a similar bill introduced by Representative Martha Roby of Alabama.

Representative Steve King of Iowa is seeking a wider approach that is similar to a measure being prepared by Representative Robert Aderholt of Alabama.

Aderholt’s Bill

Aderholt’s plan would deny benefits extended under Obama’s executive action, according to a House Republican aide who sought anonymity. The measure would apply to individuals covered under a 2012 policy deferring deportation for certain people who came to the country as children.

Rogers said earlier today, “The hope is that we could file a bill Friday, in time for it to come to the floor Tuesday or so next week.”

Rogers repeated his position that Obama’s orders can’t be defunded, though language changing the underlying law could be attached to the Homeland Security measure.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said he’s been urging fellow Republicans in the House to block Obama’s immigration orders in the strongest possible terms.

“What I think is critical is that we follow through on our commitment to defund and stop the president’s illegal and unconstitutional amnesty,” said Cruz.

He delayed passage of a government spending bill in December in an unsuccessful bid to force an immediate debate over defunding Obama’s orders.