Conservative Republicans indicated Tuesday they would not support a plan that would have Congress approve funding for the federal government first, and then worry later about whether to pass a separate bill to stop President Barack Obama from implementing his executive action on immigration.
Earlier in the day, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) proposed that Congress should do just that, in order to ensure the spending bill is not held up by possible legislation aimed at countering Obama's planned immigration plan.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) proposed a plan to stop Obama's immigration action with a bill stopping federal spending in some departments. But other Republicans warned that would give away GOP leverage in the fight.
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Rogers said that even if Congress were to approve a spending bill, it could always go back later and defund portions of the government to stop Obama. This could be done, he said, by passing a "rescissions" bill that takes away funding as needed.
But other Republicans pounced on that proposal as a bad idea, since it would take away GOP leverage in what could become a significant fight with Obama in the next few weeks.
The government spending bill is seen as a "must pass" bill, particularly as incoming Republican leaders have said they would not allow the government to close under their watch. Because the spending bill "must" pass, Republicans who have been fighting to include language in that bill that stops Obama.
These members also seemed likely to reject Rogers's plan because there's no guarantee that Congress could pass a rescission bill. If not, it would leave Republicans in the position of having approved government spending, and being stuck with a rescissions bill that can't become law.
"You cannot be serious about blocking executive amnesty and also supportive of this proposal," one GOP aide told TheBlaze about the rescissions plan. "Period."
In 2015, Republicans will hold both the House and the Senate. But there will only be 54 Senate Republicans at most, which means Democrats there will have some power to stop a rescissions bill from passing.
And even if both the House and Senate could pass a rescissions bill, Obama would veto it, and the Senate would be almost certain to fall short of the two-thirds majority needed to override that veto.
When asked about the idea of a rescissions bill Tuesday, Pelosi said she would oppose it, but acknowledged that Obama would simply veto it.
"Of course I would object to rescissions, and they would most likely be vetoed by the president," she said.
Obama has indicated he could announce his unilateral action at any time in the coming days and weeks, although some Democrats have said he should wait until after the government spending bill is completed.