House Passes Spending Bill Defunding Obama's Amnesty

Conn Carroll
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Posted: Jan 14, 2015 1:45 PM
House Passes Spending Bill Defunding Obama's Amnesty

The House of Representatives passed a Department of Homeland Security spending bill Wednesday that effectively defunds President Obama's November 2014 executive amnesty program.

"The House defended its constitutional authority to make the law of the land in today’s vote to oppose President Obama’s unconstitutional executive actions on immigration," Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) said after the vote. "I am hopeful the Senate will do its job and reassert the duty of Congress to make immigration law."

An amendment offered by Rep. Rob Aderholt (R-AL) forbidding DHS from spending any money implementing Obama's Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program passed 237 to 190. The amendment specified that the spending restrictions applied to fees collected by the agency and applied to four other memos written prior to November 20.

The Aderholt amendment did not, however, touch Obama's June 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. A group of conservative members, led by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) struck a deal with Aderholt not to include the DACA program in his amendment. These conservatives felt that including DACA would be a distraction from DAPA and would make it easier for Democrats to attack Republicans for wanting to deport children.

A separate amendment, offered by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), did defund Obama's DACA program. It too passed, but by a substantial smaller 218 to 209 margin.

Neither of these amendments would actually lead to any new deportations, but they would stop the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office from giving work permits to illegal immigrants. Pew estimates that DAPA would legalize 3.9 million illegal immigrants while just 1.5 million are eligible for DACA.

Now the funding measure will move to the Senate where it faces an uncertain future. Republicans do have a 54-46 majority in the Senate, but Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jon Tester (D-MT), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Angus King (I-ME), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) have all come out against the Aderholt amendment. It is not clear how Republicans can get to the 60 votes necessary to overcome a Democratic filibuster.

If they don't Senate Republican leaders may try to narrow the defunding provisions to win over Democratic votes.

But even if they do, the White House already issued a threat to veto any bill that defunds any amnesty Monday night.