The House voted Thursday to nullify President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration — but the legislation members passed stands no chance of becoming law, and only served to prove that Republicans oppose Obama's immigration plan.
Republican leaders called up the Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act, which would stop Obama from implementing his plan to give safe harbor to millions of illegal immigrants, and let them work in the United States.
The House voted Thursday to void President Barack Obama's immigration plan, although the bill will not advance in the Senate. Many Republicans are hoping to attack Obama's plan in a must-pass spending bill next week.
Image: AP Photo/Susan Walsh
The idea behind the bill is supported by most if not all Republicans, and it passed in a 219-197 vote. All but seven Republicans voted for it, along with three Democrats.
The seven Republicans voting against it were Reps. Mike Coffman (Colo.), Jeff Denham (Calif.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), Marlin Stutzman (Ind.) and David Valadao (Calif.). Three other Republicans protested the symbolic vote by voting "present": Reps. Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Steve King (Iowa) and Raul Labrador (Idaho).
The bill had been criticized by some Republicans as an empty threat, since Senate Democrats don't have to consider the bill at all. These Republicans argue the House should try to defund Obama's immigration action as part of a larger, must-pass spending bill, a step that GOP leaders do not appear willing to take.
Earlier in the day, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) declined to say whether that tougher action would be coming, although he said Republicans would have more leverage over Obama next year, when Republicans run both the House and the Senate.
Boehner has continued to signal that his first job is to avoid a government shutdown, which would happen late next week of Congress can't pass a funding bill. Including language that defunds Obama's immigration action would cause objections in the Senate, which is why Boehner at this point does not appear likely to try it.
Republicans such as Steve King have said Boehner's plan is a mistake, since it means Obama will be free to implement his plan for the next few months. Once that happen, King argues, it will likely become much harder for Congress to stop it.
The GOP has not released a final draft of the spending legislation, but it's widely expected to fund the entire government for the rest of fiscal year 2015, with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security, which may only be funded for a few months. Short-term funding for DHS would let Republicans revisit the fight early next year, when, as Boehner said, "we'll have a Republican House and a Republican Senate, and we'll be in a stronger position to take actions."