A movement is growing among rank-and-file House Republicans to explicitly ban funding for White House executive actions on immigration.
Just one day after the chamber returned from a seven-week recess, more than 50 GOP lawmakers have signed on to a letter asking House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., and Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., the ranking member, to include a rider on the upcoming government funding bill that would essentially block implementation of the executive actions that could come as early as next week.
Specifically, the letter calls for banning funding for enacting “current or future executive actions that would create additional work permits and green cards outside the scope prescribed by Congress.”
In the letter, lawmakers led by Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., call for including the language in all relevant appropriations legislation for fiscal 2015. One of the most pressing items of business in the final days of the 113th Congress is passing an omnibus appropriations bill to prevent a government shutdown when current spending expires on Dec. 11. If that rider is included, it could jeopardize its chances for passage.
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., who is still the chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee until the chamber changes party hands in January, said the suggested language would be a "deal-breaker" for her — and probably for the president as well.
Back on the House side, Rogers was also skeptical that the maneuver would work as many of his colleagues hoped.
"I don't think that would work," Rogers told reporters Wednesday night. "I don't want a shutdown. I want to pass an omnibus spending bill that incorporates much of what we've already passed in the House ... that puts the conservative spin on the spending that we want."
He also dismissed the suggestion that House Republicans push for a shorter stop-gap spending bill — a continuing resolution — that would allow this fight to be revisited early next year, when all of Capitol Hill is under Republican control.
"The only way that they would argue to do a CR is try to stymie [Obama] from issuing his executive order, but that's a shutdown scenario," Rogers said. "I've always heard that you should not take a hostage that you can't shoot, and if it passed the House and Senate it would be vetoed."
But Rogers' warnings might fall on deaf ears. Wednesday evening, one of the letter's cosigners, Rep. John Fleming, R-La., said that the GOP ought not to be afraid to push the envelope on issues that matter.
"I'm not interested in shutting down the government, I'm interested in getting government working once again," Fleming said, "but we can't say, 'we can't allow a shutdown, so we're just gonna roll over and play dead.' We can't do that either."
Related: Boehner on Obama’s Immigration Action: ‘He’s Going to Burn Himself’ ‘Net Neutrality’ Is Latest Obama Overreach, GOP Says House Postpones Vote on Continuing Resolution Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.