Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Wednesday called on House Republicans to pass a spending bill that defunds President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration, and said failure to do so would be a failure of the GOP to live up to its campaign promises to fight Obama's plan.
"What I'm here urging my fellow Republicans to do is very, very simple," Cruz said. "Do what you said you would do."
"Honor your commitments. Answer the question today, the exact same way you would have answered it a month ago when you were campaigning before the voters," he added.
Cruz spoke after meeting with several House Republicans who are hoping the House can adopt Cruz's recommendation. Several dozen GOP lawmakers are known to be pushing for language in the 2015 spending bill that blocks the use of any funds to implement Obama's plan, which could allow millions of illegal immigrants to stay and work in the United States.
On Tuesday, however, House GOP leaders proposed a different plan. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called for passage of a separate bill that would nullify Obama's action, although that bill would not get any vote in the Democratic Senate because it would not be attached to the spending bill.
After that bill, Boehner proposed passing bills to fund the government, and has made no mention of trying to defund Obama's immigration initiative. Boehner's proposal seemed to be a sign that he had no interest in attaching language to defund Obama's immigration plan to the spending bill, since that would be unlikely to pass in the Senate, and government funding expires on Dec. 11.
Cruz joined with Reps. Steve King (R-Iowa), Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and House lawmakers who are trying to convince Boehner to take a tougher stand against Obama.
"Congress should stand up and use the power of the purse to say: we will fund the government, we will fund the operation of the federal government, but we will not allocate taxpayer dollars to lawless and illegal amnesty," Cruz advised. He also indicated Boehner's plan to pass a separate bill — one that will go nowhere in the Senate — would only allow for a meaningless "show vote."
"Do what you promised," Cruz said. "And doing what you promised doesn't mean, as it so often does in Washington, sending a really stern letter, and having a meaningless show vote."
"Why do you think people are so frustrated with Washington?" he asked. "Because they recognize there are a whole lot of politicians that say one thing at home and do something different here."
King said the failure of the House to defund Obama's immigration action would amount to a failure of members to follow their oath to uphold the rule of law. King also reminded members that they would be taking this oath again next year, when the next Congress is formed.
"We're presented with the proposal that we ought to fund the president's lawless, unconstitutional act," King said. "Anybody that would vote to fund it can't sincerely take this oath next January, that's my view."
On Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) also argued that the House needs to defund Obama's plans, and anything else would violate the GOP's pledge to do what it can to stop Obama.
"The Chairman of the Republican Party made a promise to America on executive amnesty: 'We can't allow it to happen and we won't let it happen… everything we can do to stop it we will,' " Sessions said.
"Unfortunately, the plan now being circulated in the House fails to meet that test," he said.
Despite pressure from these GOP lawmakers, the House so far seems likely to follow through with its less aggressive plan. GOP leaders indicate a vote on a separate bill to nullify Obama's move could come on Thursday, even though there is no chance Senate Democrats would consider the bill.
According to that plan, the House will consider a must-pass spending bill next week. However, Boehner said Tuesday that no final plans have been set, which means conservative Republicans may yet get some chance to modify the spending bill in some way.