After just a few weeks on the job, Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) will join other House Republicans Wednesday in a last-minute effort to include language on the huge federal spending bill that prevents President Barack Obama from implementing his immigration plan.
Brat famously defeated former House Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in a primary, benefitting in part from rising complaints within the Republican party about immigration. Cantor resigned, and Brat was sworn in late last month to serve out the rest of Cantor's term.
Brat will join Reps. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) in an effort to get defunding language on the huge, $1 trillion spending bill — language that GOP leaders did not include, to the disappointment of many conservative Republicans.
Their effort seems doomed to fail. House and Senate leaders have agreed on a spending bill, and with federal funding about to run out Thursday, there is almost no time to do anything but pass it.
Still, many Republicans will likely complain over the next few days that the bill is violating the GOP's pledge to fight Obama on his immigration move. Many are likely to seek commitments to do something tough early next year, something that's not at all guaranteed. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has so far declined to say a defunding bill would come up next year.
That's the context for today's House Rules Committee hearing, which will approve a rule that will govern the way members debate and vote Thursday on the spending bill. In the Wednesday hearing, Mulvaney, Brat and Salmon will ask Republicans to let members consider his amendment to the bill that would completely defund Obama's immigration move.
Under the amendment, no funds in the $1 trillion bill, and no fees collected by key agencies, could be used to carry out or enforce Obama's Nov. 20 executive action on immigration. That would apply to policies related to the exercise of prosecutorial discretion that might let millions of illegal immigrants stay in the United States, as well as others aimed at promoting U.S. citizenship to non-citizens.
The Rules Committee is certain to reject the amendment, but how it rejects the language bears some watching. The committee is led by Republicans, and one House aide said they may decide to reject the amendment in a voice vote, in order to avoid a recorded vote in which GOP members side with Democrats in shooting down Mulvaney's language.
Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) drew criticism from conservatives last week, when he said no Republican favors opposing all illegal immigrants currently in the country. Sessions's office later issued a statement saying that he "is and always has been adamantly opposed to blanket amnesty."
Read Mulvaney's proposed amendment here: