Speaker John A. Boehner wouldn't rule out Tuesday the possibility the House may have to pass a Department of Homeland Security funding bill that does not block President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration.
That could dampen the enthusiasm of some hard-line conservatives in the House, who were practically ecstatic on Jan. 9 with an emerging GOP strategy to hold votes to defund the president's executive action and a number of other immigration provisions. But on Tuesday, the speaker was noncommittal. "Our goal here is to fund the Department of Homeland Security," the Ohio Republican said. "Our second goal is to stop the president's executive overreach."
When Boehner was pressed on whether he would put a "clean" funding bill on the floor before the agency runs out of money at the end of next month, he said Republicans have "this year's process — fiscal year's process — and we have next year's fiscal year process."
Pressed again, this time with a yes or no ultimatum of whether he would put a straight DHS funding bill on the floor before Feb. 28, Boehner first made a small joke — "Oh, oh, now we have a new question" — and then he refused to give that elusive yes or no answer. Instead, he provided his ordered preference to fund DHS, and then, as a "second goal," stop Obama's executive action.
Boehner and Republicans know Obama almost certainly won't sign a funding bill defunding his executive action, and building a veto-proof majority in both the House and Senate seems improbable. That is, if the Senate could muster 60 votes to pass such a bill in the first place.
Either way, the House is expected to start the process Wednesday when it passes the DHS funding bill and hold amendment votes attacking a bevy of immigration provisions from the Obama administration.
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