Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., says Republican leaders are wasting historic majorities in Congress by surrendering on critical issues like immigration and driving deep wedges in the party by collaborating more with Democrats than conservatives on key votes.
“We are talking about historical vote margins in the House and Senate,” he said. “Republicans have done better than we have in probably 80-90 years. We have immediately started squandering away that victory.”
Huelskamp said the biggest disappointments are in fully funding what he considers to be President Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty and in failing to stop Washington’s desire to tax more and spend more. He said the problem started back in December with the “cromnibus” bill, even before the GOP gained control of the U.S. Senate.
“Both Speaker John Boehner and soon-to-be leader Mitch McConnell backed away and seem more intent on working with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi than they are conservatives,” Huelskamp said.
Most frustrating to Huelskamp is the Republican surrender on blocking money for the president’s unilateral action to grant legal status to five million adults in the U.S. illegally. The “cromnibus” bill funded the program through the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, for just two months, with the stated intention of killing the appropriation once the GOP controlled both the House and Senate.
In January, the House passed DHS funding without money for Obama’s legalization program. Republicans tried to move that bill through the Senate, but Democrats filibustered it. McConnell then relented and allowed for full DHS funding in exchange for a separate vote to strip out the new immigration money. The funding bill passed. Efforts to defund the legalization program failed. After an initial one-week extension for DHS appropriations, the House also fully funded Obama’s immigration actions.
Huelskamp is appalled.
“What we hear again and again is, ‘Boy, if we do well in the next election, we’ll really fight on some conservative principles,'” he said. “It’s always about the next election, the next battle. What I hear from the American people, particularly conservatives across this country is, ‘Stand for something.’ Win or lose, they know the difference between trying and failing and not trying at all.
“So far, what I’ve seen this year is not trying at all,” he said. “You have too many insiders, both in the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, that are more interested in their future up here than what the American people want.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan.:
While many Republicans say the fight to stop what most call an unconstitutional amnesty is far from over, Huelskamp said the GOP just rolled over on the best and possibly last chance to really stop the president.
“The leadership of the House and Senate Republicans have essentially folded their tents and given up on immigration,” he said. “There is no more battle. It’s now left up to the courts.”
The congressman said depending on the courts just got harder now that the legislative branch gave a firm thumbs up to the immigration program by funding it for the rest of the fiscal year.
“We sent a very strong bad message to the courts when the leadership essentially agreed with the president’s position and funded it, hoping somehow against hope that the Supreme Court’s going to come in and save the day. That didn’t work with Obamacare. I hope it works with immigration, but there is no plan for the House or Senate Republicans to challenge this,” said Huelskamp, who noted that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently told lawmakers not to rely on the courts to stop Obama.
“He advised the members, saying, ‘Do not expect the Supreme Court to do your constitutional duty.’ He said, ‘We can’t. That’s up to you,'” Huelskamp explained.
Beyond an unwillingness to fight fiercely against the Obama agenda, Huelskamp said when it comes to amnesty, there a lot of Republicans who are far more accepting of the idea than they’re willing to state publicly.
“The reality is, we have plenty of Republicans that said they were against the amnesty but silently hope it prevails and continues ahead,” he said. “They would much rather the issue go away than stand on principle.”
Huelskamp is no stranger to public disputes with Republican leaders. In 2013, Boehner stripped Huelskamp and two other critical conservatives of plum committee assignments for not being loyal enough to leadership.
After Huelskamp and other conservatives refused to support a three-week or one-week extension of DHS funding as part of Boehner’s attempt to force a House-Senate conference on the DHS funding bill, the congressman found himself targeted in ads from a Super PAC affiliated with the House GOP leadership. The ad accused Huelskamp of not being conservative and putting politics ahead of national security.
“For a sitting speaker of the House to use and rely on outside groups to target and attack fellow Republicans is unprecedented,” he said. “I think that demonstrates the weakness of the speaker and his position.”
Huelskamp believes current leaders still have a 1990s mentality toward conducting business, but he said there are far too many crises brewing to shirk the need for strong leadership.
“It’s a different world,” he said. “We have $18 trillion of debt. We have our foreign policy in shambles. We have amnesty being forced upon us by the president. We’ve got out-of-control executive agencies that are pushing the agenda of the left. The idea that you can negotiate and compromise with this president, I don’t think our leadership gets that.”