Rep. Cole: GOP Contradictory on Obama Role in Border Crisis

Friday, 01 Aug 2014 03:35 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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House Deputy Whip Rep. Tom Cole agrees with Democrats on one point when it comes to a border bill that was pulled Thursday for lack of support — Republicans can't agree to sue President Barack Obama for overreaching on executive authority "and then refuse to give him legislative authority and direction in other areas."

The Oklahoma Republican, appearing Friday on "Morning Joe," said he is sure the House will eventually pass a border bill, but that might not happen before the August recess begins.

Story continues below video.

On Friday, House Republicans pushed legislation to clear the way for the eventual deportation of more than 500,000 immigrants brought here illegally as children, while addressing the surge of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

House GOP leaders said they were optimistic about securing tea party and other conservative support for two bills that Republicans can highlight when they return home to voters during Congress' five-week summer break. Voting was expected to take place on late Friday.

The revised bill would cost $694 million, including $35 million for the National Guard, while clarifying a 2008 law that keeps the government from quickly returning unaccompanied minors from Central America to their home countries.

After House leaders pulled their bill on Thursday, Democrats were quick to criticize the party for hypocrisy because it called on Obama to take several steps without congressional action.

The Republican recommendations called for Obama to roll back several programs GOP lawmakers believe are attracting migrants to flock to the United States, and to send a strong public message that would deter people from sending their children north from Central America to the United States.

Cole also slammed Senate Democrats for leaving the capital when the border bill did not move forward, rather than stay and work through Friday. The Senate is officially in session, but no votes are scheduled on any legislation.

"[Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid and Democrats in the Senate couldn't pass a bill yesterday and they quit and went home," he on the program. "We [the House] couldn't pass a bill yesterday and we're at work and we are here."

"We're going to pass this bill," Cole said. "The Speaker [Rep. John Boehner] made it very apparent. We had a good conference yesterday, and I think we narrowed the differences between ourselves. We're ready to act not only today but any day between now and Sept. 5.

"So I think we just have to keep working at it."

But meanwhile, said Cole, "we've got a good bill that actually addresses the problem,a problem the president has identified but refused to produce a solution to, provides an adequate amount of money to get us to the end of the year. We'll give him additional resources next year."

And, said Cole, "I'm not going to point a lot of fingers at the president until we get our own job done."

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