House Republicans passed an internal resolution of disapproval of the White House-backed Senate immigration bill Tuesday evening, distancing themselves from the bill that would grant legal status to millions of illegal aliens.
Led by Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R.-Mich.), ranking member of the House intelligence committee, 114 Republicans voted in favor of the one-line resolution: “Resolved, the House GOP Conference disapproves of the Senate immigration bill."
In a phone interview Tuesday afternoon, Hoekstra said the purpose of holding a vote on this was to “send a clear message to the people back home that we are not where the Senate or where the White House is on this.”
When asked if he was concerned about backlash from the White House for his actions, Hoekstra said, “No.”
Twenty-three Republicans voted against the resolution. House Democrats did not vote on the resolution, as the vote was held in a meeting open only to Republicans. Because the vote was held in private, a public list of those who voted against it is not available.
Rep. Jeff Flake (R.-Ariz.), however, is a known opponent of the resolution. Flake, a cosponsor of the House’s version of the Senate immigration bill, said it was wrong to support Hoekstra’s resolution because the Senate bill is not finalized.
Before the June 26 vote, House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R.-Ohio) shied from questions related to Hoekstra’s resolution in a press conference.
Boehner said, “I don't know why Mr. Hoekstra brought the resolution, but he brought it, and we've been working with them over the last week or so on how to consider this, because it's clear there's a large number of the House Republicans who have serious concerns with the Senate bill. But you'll have to ask Mr. Hoekstra about his intentions.”
Boehner’s office released a statement after the vote that endorsed the resolution. It said, “House Republicans have significant concerns with the Senate bill and our Conference expressed those concerns today. House Republicans have been very clear about our priorities. First things first: we must secure our border and enforce our laws.”
A statement issued from House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R.-Mo.) about the vote was more heavy-handed against the Senate bill: “The American people have rightly demanded of their Congress an immigration bill that secures our border, reestablishes the rule of law, and doesn't reward people for breaking it. The Senate immigration bill falls short of that standard, and Republicans in the House tonight were not ambiguous in asserting their opposition to it.”