House Democrats gathered on the steps of the Capitol Tuesday morning with a group of immigration activists to voice their opposition to a Republican tactic to defund the president's executive actions on immigration.
Republicans plan to attach five amendments to a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security to target the president's executive actions, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and other practices that loosen enforcement of some immigration laws. The House is expected to vote on the funding bill Wednesday. "This is frivolous," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said. "They know this will not become the law. They're hoping the Senate will bail them out. Why don't we live up to our responsibilities in a bipartisan way here to protect and defend the American people, to live up to the character of our country, which is a nation of immigrants?"
Pelosi and her fellow Democrats called for a "clean" DHS funding bill, without what they called "poison pill" amendments. They pointed to the recent terror attacks in France as evidence that funding the DHS is critical and should not be linked to the politically divisive subject of immigration. Though Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, did not rule out sending a clean bill to the floor at a Tuesday news conference, he emphasized that one of the GOP's goals is to stop the president's executive action.
"It's an outrageous abuse of the appropriations process and it puts our country, our security, at risk," said Rep. David E. Price, D-N.C., the ranking member on the Homeland Security appropriations subcommittee.
"Don't let anybody tell you that this is without consequences, this idea of putting the Homeland Security Department on a continuing resolution," Price added. He proceeded to list a number of DHS functions that would be stalled due to a continuing resolution, including border security, immigration enforcement, security grants, and new efforts to bolster the U.S. Secret Service and increase protections at the White House.
"It's a bad way to govern, bad in the sense that it hurts this department, hurts its function," Price said. "But also that it represents a kind of crass political opportunism, using this appropriations bill, which is bipartisan, bicameral, approved long ago — using this appropriations bill as a vehicle for a blatantly political anti-immigration purpose."
Matt Fuller contributed to this report. Related: Boehner Refuses to Rule Out 'Clean' DHS Funding Bill House Conservatives Expect 'Solid Votes' for New Immigration Strategy (Updated) House GOP Mulls Options to Stymie Obama on Immigration Boehner Suggests He Won't Cave to Conservatives on 'Cromnibus' Labrador: Shutdown Didn't Hurt GOP, Why Take It Off Table? Boehner: ‘House Will Act’ in Response to Obama’s Immigration Orders GOP Still Fuzzy on Strategy to Block Obama’s Immigration Move Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.