This was the bill proposed by conservative Ted Yoho that would, if also passed by the Senate and signed by Obama, block Obama’s authority to remake immigration policy on his own. I … thought we had a Constitution that does that, but I guess we don’t anymore. Obviously, a bill like this isn’t going to get past a Democratic Senate and a Democratic president, which means this was an empty gesture designed to show grassroots righties that the leadership shares their concerns about O’s power grab even if they’re not prepared to play hardball to stop it.
The burning question: With House tea partiers complaining that the bill was meaningless and ineffectual, could Boehner still find a majority to pass it? Yup, as it turns out. Although he needed a little Democratic help to cross the 218 threshold.
JUST IN: House votes 219 to 197, 3 voted present, to block Obama from changing immigration laws by executive authority
— Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) December 4, 2014
Three Democrats voted yes while seven Republicans voted no and another three Republicans voted “present.” The roll isn’t out yet so we’re not sure who those 10 GOPers are but I’ll update as soon as it’s available. The White House, incidentally, has already all but promised to veto this bill. If Boehner had wanted to make Obama choke on it, he could have followed the Lee/Cruz plan by inserting this as a rider to a spending bill that would fund the entire government for a few months. That way, Reid and Obama would have a stark choice of either approving the money with this condition attached or else blocking it and bracing for the resulting shutdown. Instead, by splitting Yoho’s bill off from the “cromnibus” funding bill that’ll be voted on later today (I think), Boehner made it easy for Democrats to oppose Yoho’s language without risking any standoff over government funding. The name of the game here for Republican leaders is no shutdown, no shutdown, no shutdown. The solution was an empty gesture.
While we wait for the roll, here’s something from the Weekly Standard to chew on. Next year, after the “cromnibus” has passed and the new Republican Congress takes up funding for the Department of Homeland Security again in March, Boehner and McConnell will be prepared to pull the plug on DHS money if Obama doesn’t rescind his amnesty, right? Right?
John Boehner said he would not commit to bringing up a bill to strip critical funding from the Department of Homeland Security in the next Congress. Instead, the speaker of the House says there are “lots of options” for blocking President Obama’s executive order on immigration. At a Thursday press conference in the Capitol, Boehner did not guarantee the House would vote to block or cut off funding from DHS once Republicans had control of both houses of Congress in 2015.
“There are a lot of options on the table,” said Boehner in response to a question from THE WEEKLY STANDARD. “I’m not going to get into hypotheticals of what we could or couldn’t do. But I do know this. Come January, we’ll have a Republican House and a Republican Senate, and we’ll be in a stronger position to take actions.”
They’re gonna cave, because at the end of the day they fear pissing off Latino voters in 2016 by fighting O on amnesty a lot more than they fear pissing off conservatives who’ll go to the polls and vote against Hillary no matter what. Stand by for updates.
Update: Aha. Turns out it wasn’t the tea partiers who voted no.
Update: Here’s the roll. Republicans voting no include the five named above by Benjy Sarlin plus Louie Gohmert and Marlin Stutzman. The three Republicans who voted “present” are Paul Gosar, Steve King, and Raul Labrador. And the three Democrats who voted yes are John Barrow of Georgia, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, and Colin Peterson of Minnesota. Barrow lost his reelection bid and McIntyre is retiring so neither had anything to lose.