House GOP leaders agreed late Wednesday to allow a Thursday vote on legislation that would prevent the Obama administration from expanding an amnesty program for millions of illegal immigrants.
Republicans were forced to allow this vote to take place after it became clear there weren’t enough GOP votes to pass a $659 million border security bill. Most Democrats are expected to oppose that bill as something that falls short of the billions of dollars Democrats are seeking for the border.
To win enough GOP support, Republican leaders had to meet a core demand — a vote to ensure President Barack Obama can’t expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to millions of adults.
Several reports have said Obama is considering allowing five or six million illegal immigrant adults to stay in the country and apply for work authorization.
Pressure was increasing on GOP leaders to allow the vote all week, in particular from Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who has said any vote on a border security bill must include language that stops Obama’s effort to expand a DACA-like program. Earlier this week, Sessions called the absence of this language in the House’s border bill “surrender to a lawless president.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was also involved, and reportedly met with House Republicans to solidify their support for a vote on language to stop a DACA expansion.
However, it’s unclear whether the House GOP plan will satisfy Sessions and Cruz. According to House aides, members will first vote on the $659 million border bill, and then vote on the DACA language, which is sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).
House aides said the spending bill and Blackburn’s bill will be considered in two separate votes, and that the bills will not be combined after those votes.
That means the Senate will have the option of just passing the spending bill and ignoring Blackburn’s language. However, Senate Democrats oppose even the spending bill, which means they may not consider either proposal after the House votes on Thursday.
Wednesday afternoon, the White House also said it opposes the House spending bill, and that Obama would veto it if it reached his desk.
In light of the likely Democratic opposition to both bills, the Senate may do nothing on Thursday, and both the House and Senate could leave town for a month without finalizing any legislation at all to deal with the border crisis.
Blackburn introduced a new version of her bill late Wednesday that would prevent Obama from taking any executive action to expand an amnesty program. Last week, Blackburn told TheBlaze that she believes there is real momentum among House Republicans to pass her language.
Read Blackburn’s new bill here: