Despite pleas and warnings from Republican congressional leaders, President Barack Obama said he remains committed to using executive orders to achieve his goals on immigration if Congress does not act before the end of the year.
"I'm going to do what I can do through executive action," Obama said on CBS' "Face the Nation.
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"I prefer and still prefer to see it done through Congress, but every day that I wait we're misallocating resources," he added. "We're deporting people that shouldn't be deported. We're not deporting folks that are dangerous and need to be deported."
While the scope and breadth of any executive order remains unclear, Republicans are engaged in discussions over which strategy to adopt moving forward, including using the appropriations process to prevent Obama from granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.
“If the president really is serious about acting unilaterally on immigration, then it may be that we need to keep short-term funding mechanisms available to us in order to fight back,” South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney told The Wall Street Journal
Mulvaney says the option of using spending measures as a bargaining chip became more alluring after Obama expressed his intent to move forward with executive actions on immigration.
“We didn’t think he would be so cavalier about acting unilaterally, given the outcome of the elections, and we are looking at what tools are available to counterbalance that,” the Republican said.
Some members within the GOP caucus have expressed concern that if they agree to funding the government well into next year, they will lose any leverage the must-pass spending bill would offer in coming negotiations on immigration and other issues.
That is a strategy gaining legitimacy with conservatives, who presently support a short-term measure which would fund the federal government into early 2015, which would allow the new GOP-controlled Senate to set spending priorities moving forward, according to Breitbart News
Republicans would back passage of a long-term spending measure only if it included a provision to defund Obama’s planned executive amnesty.
Today, Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon planned to send a letter to House Appropriations Committee chairman Hal Rogers and Ranking Member Nita Lowey in which he warns about the possibility of using the power of the purse to block any effort by Obama to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.
"President Obama has spoken publicly and privately about his intentions to use executive action to create these work permits for those who are here illegally. This would be in direct violation of U.S. law. As you know, the Congress has the power of the purse and should use it as a tool to prevent the President from implementing policies that are contrary to our laws and the desire of the American people," Salmon said in the letter, according to National Review
Although Republicans have highlighted the Keystone Pipeline and trade deals as areas of possible cooperation, an executive order on immigration could stymie attempts to achieve those goals.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso said immigration could complicate negotiations
on a range of issues.
"Well, I believe it would hurt cooperation on every issue," Barrasso told host Chris Wallace. "What the president does over the next two months is really going to set the tone for the next two years in Washington. You know, nobody ran for office and won a Senate race based on the president having executive authority to take executive actions on amnesty or on health care or any of those issues. The American people want us to work together to find solutions."
Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions told Breitbart that Republicans must follow through on commitments made prior to the election, referring to Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Reince Priebus' pledge to do "everything we can" to stop Obama's immigration executive action.
“Before the election, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said: ‘We can’t allow it to happen and we won’t let it happen… I’m telling you, everything we can do to stop it we will,’ ” said Sessions in a statement provided exclusively to Breitbart News. “We must now follow through on that commitment.”
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