House Republicans are launching a two-headed strategy to stop President Obama’s executive orders on immigration that will both reject the president’s actions with legislation while simultaneously targeting funding for their enforcement.
Timing is essential in this strategy. Current funding for government operations is set to expire Dec. 11. GOP leaders plan to move both parts of this strategy well before that deadline.
Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., is spearheading the effort to strike down the executive orders. His bill, H.R 5759, is known as the Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act.
“This president, what he is doing is unilaterally rewriting the law,” Yoho said. “He cannot do that.”
In November, Obama announced he was removing the threat of deportation for those in the country illegally for five years or more and whose children have legal status in the U.S. They would also be able to obtain work permits.
The congressman said his bill to rescind the Obama orders is straightforward.
“This is something to block the executive order that he did November 20 and its retroactive from that date forward,” Yoho said. “It exclusively says that the president does not have the authority to go ahead and rewrite the laws. It brings out the authority of the Constitution, Article I, Section 8, that says all naturalization laws are the sole responsibility of Congress, that the president can’t step in there and unilaterally rewrite these on his own.”
Not only can Obama not enact new laws on his own, but Yoho said the president is failing in his constitutional responsibility to enforce the laws that are already on the books. He said his bill addresses that issue for Obama and future presidents as well.
“This is not just for this president,” he said. “This is from this point forward, to have a line drawn that says Congress is paying attention, and we are going to abide by the Constitution, and we’re going to hold our presidents to that, as we should.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.:
Yoho said there is no appropriations component to his bill. That will be fought over in separate legislation.
“Our bill will be a stand-alone bill, and it’s not tied into funding,” he said. “There’s no threat of a government shutdown with the passage of this bill. The big thing is it stops a dangerous precedent that this president is doing from this point forward (and) for the next presidents, Republican and Democrat.”
In addition to Republicans firmly believing the Constitution is on their side in this debate, Yoho said the voters are in the GOP’s corner as well.
“The American people spoke loud and clear in the last election on November 4, and they’re tired of unilateral legislation,” he said. “They’re tired of people stepping on the Constitution and what the president is trying to do is not solving the problem. It’s making it worse.”
But will the Yoho bill pass? While House passage is virtually certain, critics say it will undoubtedly die in the Senate while Democrats control the chamber in this lame-duck session. Without actually becoming law, some conservatives suggest this amounts to more talk instead of actions yielding results.
Yoho does not see it that way and says he has a major asset in this battle that should not be underestimated.
“That’s not in my control,” he said. “My control is to do the best legislation we can from the House. The American people can weigh in on this. That’s why programs like yours are so important, to let the American people know that there is a way to stop the executive overreach of this administration. So what they need to do is call up their representatives, Republicans and Democrats, and say, ‘We want this bill to pass.’ If we can do that, (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid has to determine whether he wants to be the guy saying, ‘Nope, we’re not going to do this.'”
While not as involved in planning the government funding legislation, Yoho said there are a number of ideas being considered. The most popular approach seems to be to fund the vast majority of government through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2015. The GOP would then push a short-term extension of funding at current levels for the Department of Homeland Security into the early weeks of the new Congress.
At that point, with majorities in the House and Senate, Republicans would seek to forbid any federal dollars being allocated to implement or enforce Obama’s executive orders. If a government shutdown looms under that approach, Yoho said the blame will rest entirely with Obama, both for putting Congress in this position and risking a shutdown.
“Why did he go ahead and do the executive order now?” he asked. “Why did he wait until after the midterms? They had control of the House and the Senate (in 2009 and 2010). Why did they not do that then? This system’s been broken for over 30 years. We don’t need to rush into this, and we don’t need to do it this way. It’s bad for America.
“Then to tie this and say that he’s going to veto this, he will be the one unilaterally deciding to shut down the government.”