By David Lawder
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An influential House Republican moderate on Monday pushed back against an effort by conservatives to use a short-term spending extension to try to stop President Barack Obama from easing immigration policies.
House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers urged Congress instead to pass a full-fledged government spending bill that lasts until Sept. 30, 2015.
To do otherwise would be "punting" on important duties and put the United States "on an uncertain and unstable fiscal path," Rogers wrote in an opinion piece published by the Roll Call newspaper.
"Worst of all, it would send a signal to the American people, just weeks after they told us to get our acts together, that we haven’t been listening," the Kentucky Republican wrote.
Congress must authorize new federal spending by Dec. 11 to avoid a government shutdown. Rogers is currently negotiating with Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski to craft an "omnibus" spending bill that would last until Sept. 30, 2015.
But more than 63 House conservatives have called for a short-term spending bill that would deny the funds needed to implement any executive action taken by Obama to issue identification cards or work permits to millions of undocumented immigrants.
Such a strategy, which would ultimately threaten a government shutdown, is under discussion by Republican leaders in the House and Senate.
Rogers also argued Congress should fully fund the government for 2015 so it can concentrate on other priorities next year, such as tax reform and reducing government regulations.
"There simply won’t be the necessary political bandwidth available to address these pressing issues if Congress is bogged down in old battles and protracted to-do lists," he wrote.
(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Dan Grebler)