Updated Nov. 12 4:21 p.m. |Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday he would like President Barack Obama to wait for Congress to pass legislation funding the government before he takes executive action giving deportation relief to undocumented immigrants.
“The president said he is going to do the executive action,” the Nevada Democrat said heading in to a Democratic lunch. “The question is when. It’s up to him. I’d like to get the finances of this country out of the way before he does it. But it’s up to him.”
Reid said the president was aware of his preference.
Republicans have warned the president not to take unilateral executive action and have raised the possibility that such a move could threaten work on an omnibus spending bill currently being developed by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Some Republicans, including Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, said they would prefer a short-term continuing resolution, rather than an omnibus. Obama's move could give that position more traction.
Later in the day Reid put out a statement playing down any problem timing issue. He underscored his support for the president acting immigration and put the onus on Republicans to allow the spending package to get through the chamber.
“I strongly support the President’s use of his well-established authority to provide relief to families who continue to suffer under our broken immigration system. The President can and should act to provide this relief. Immigrant communities cannot wait any longer for House Republicans to act," Reid said.
“In recent days it has become increasingly clear that a small but vocal minority of Republicans are looking for an excuse to derail what has been a productive, bipartisan process of drafting a year-long funding bill to keep the government open," he continued. "It is incumbent on responsible leaders within the Republican Party to work with Democrats and complete the business of keeping the government open in the coming weeks, regardless of when the President acts to provide relief to families.”
Reid also said he was unsure if he would be able to push through the nomination of Loretta Lynch to replace Eric H. Holder Jr. as attorney general during the lame-duck session.
“I don’t know,” Reid said. “I am going to try.”
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