Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) defended Republican efforts to defund President Barack Obama's immigration action as a legitimate use of Congress' power of the purse, and said the defunding vote is long overdue.
"The same document that this and all presidents swear to defend gives this body certain tools, tools like the power of the purse," he said on the House floor of the Constitution. "And it's about damn time we use that tool."
The House voted Wednesday to defund Obama's immigration action in a 237-190 vote — that vote attached the defunding language to a Department of Homeland Security spending bill. The House then passed that entire bill 236-191.
Gowdy and several other Democrats insisted that the GOP effort was less about immigration, and much more about ensuring that Congress defends its ability to write the laws.
"This is not a fight between Republicans and Democrats. It's not even a fight over immigration reform," Gowdy said. "This is a fight over whether this branch of government will ever find the courage to stand up for itself."
Democrats have criticized Republicans for using the DHS bill to defund Obama's immigration plans, and say that move runs the risk of shutting down part of DHS. Obama has said he would veto the bill, and it's not clear if it can move in the Senate.