Conservatives who had wanted to see language to block President Obama’s executive actions inserted into the massive, must-pass government funding bill are expressing frustration and anger at House Republican leadership’s lack of an appetite to fight amnesty now.
“The fix is in, which I’ve been saying all along,” Rep. Matt Salmon said after leaving the GOP’s conference meeting Wednesday morning.
Tuesday night the House Appropriations Committee posted its $1.1 trillion spending package. The measure is expected to receive a vote Thursday. If no funding bill is passed by that night, the government would shut down.
“Promises around here – regardless of who they are made by – don’t seem to mean anything,” Salmon told reporters.
He explained that lawmakers’ phones have been “lighting up” with constituents asking them “do what [they] were elected to do.”
The Arizona lawmaker is spearheading an amendment with other conservative lawmakers to attach an amendment to the funding bill that would prohibit funding for Obama’s executive amnesty. His spokesman estimated to Breitbart News that the amendment currently has 55 co-sponsors. The amendment is, however, unlikely to receive a vote.
Leadership’s spending package instead is designed to fund most of the government through September, but only fund the Department of Homeland Security into February, when Republicans will have more reinforcements in the Senate to pursue a fight against Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
“Without a threat of a government shutdown, this sets up a direct challenge to the president’s unilateral actions on immigration when we have new majorities in both chambers of Congress,” House Speaker John Boehner explained to reporters.
Conservative lawmakers Wednesday not only expressed frustration with the short amount of time given to consider the 1,603 page bill and the fact that it does not defund executive amnesty immediately, but they also questioned whether leadership would actually give a full-fledged fight next year.
“What is there to suggest that a few months from now you will oppose the amnesty that you have today funded?” Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), also a co-sponsor of the defund amendment, asked.
“My biggest concern is that there are a significant number of Republicans who support amnesty, they just don’t support the way in which the president did it. That is a big distinction,” the Alabama conservative said.
Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), another of the defund amendment’s co-sponsors, told Breitbart News that his constituents have been calling him to support of defunding executive amnesty.
According to Fleming “an avalanche” of calls from constituents could move the needle to get more members to push for defunding amnesty now.
“That’s what it takes. Otherwise I think Republicans are at serious risk of going out there and supporting something the American people do not support,” Fleming said.
He anticipated that many of the co-sponsors of the defund amendment will vote no on the package.
“For every one of us they’re going to have to find one [Democrat],” Fleming said.
Some of the ability to fight Obama on executive amnesty will be lost if House Republicans go along with allowing it to be funded, if only for a short time, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) argues.
“My point is you either defend the Constitution when the president violates it or you lose some of your ability and traction to do so later,” King said. “I think its better to fight now than it is later. So therefore I have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, that’s for this Congress and I expect to be standing on the floor January 6th taking another one. I don’t want to have voted to fund the lawless, unconstitutional act by the president and then I could take an oath and mean it.”
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), another defund amendment co-sponsor, said stopping amnesty is “the issue of the day,” saying the executive actions will already be implemented come next year when leadership hopes to have the fight against them.
“That’s probably impossible to undo it in late February. This idea we’re going to take it up next year, it’s too late if you’re going to wait until after the DACA has been implemented,” he argued.
The defund amendment will be presented to the House Rules Committee by another leader in the effort, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), later Wednesday according to Salmon’s spokesman.
While Salmon told reporters he “is sure [Rules] won’t” accept the amendment, he stressed that conservatives still have to try. He added that he still expected the overall funding measure to pass despite the opposition from conservatives frustrated over funding amnesty.
King told Breitbart News that he is not co-sponsoring the Salmon and Mulvaney effort but will instead try to get the House Rules Committee to take up an effort that that goes even further, to target not only Obama’s most recent executive amnesty but also DACA and the Morton Memos.
“Somebody’s got to preserve our constitutional argument and if I don’t bring my amendment there is a concession,” he explained.