Republicans have a responsibility to the American people to pass a spending bill that would block funding for anything involving executive amnesty, Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon said Friday on Newsmax TV's
"It will stop him dead in his tracks if our conference decides to put on the spending bill that the president has to have by the end of the year that no money in that spending bill can go for these purposes, for this executive amnesty. If he does that, he's in direct violation of the law," Salmon said.
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"We have a responsibility to put forward our views on how the government should be funded as conservatives. The founding fathers gave us the power of the purse just for moments like this. The president has the veto and we have the power of the purse
. If our appropriators include that language in the bill, the president will be forbidden from using any money. He can do whatever executive order he wants, he just won't have the money to implement it."
Salmon said there are already 63 signatures, including his own, on a letter he sent Thursday to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers and ranking member Nita Lowey, requesting language be included in "all appropriations legislation prohibiting the use of funds by the administration for the implementation of current or future executive actions that would create additional work permits and green cards outside the scope prescribed by Congress."
"The message from the American people is resonating loud and clear," Salmon said, noting that the tone in Washington has changed markedly since the election.
"About a week ago, everybody was all paranoid and scared about entering into this doomsday scenario with the president and the speaker initially said we wouldn't enter into that kind of agreement. And now everything has changed," he said. "The wind is at our backs. The American people are speaking loud and clear. Members of Congress are listening and if they don't, it will be at their own peril.
"You want a long-term funding bill that's going to include language that forbids the president
from using any money for these purposes. Mr. President, we're not going to give you a get-out-of-jail-free card or an open pass to violate the Constitution. We're not going to play the 'my way or the highway' game anymore."
Republicans in the House appear split on how to respond
to President Barack Obama's anticipated executive action on immigration, which could come as early as next week.
According to The Washington Post
, the leadership is rejecting cries to shut down the government again and is intent on a strategy that would deal with its enactment in the months ahead by making incremental changes to the law.
Many conservative lawmakers
, however, are in step with Salmon to limit Obama's authority by barring funding for any executive action, now or in the future, on immigration.
Still, Salmon said, the American electorate expects the new Congress to act boldly. If they don't, he said, they will not remain in power.
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"If we don't take the mantle of authority that the American people have now given us and convert it into what the American people believe this country should be moving toward, then we're going to lose in two years," he said. "They didn't put us in there because they like elephants over donkeys or Republicans over Democrats. They want us to take our government back
, they want freedom, and they want to be able to create their own businesses without the heavy-handed government breathing down their neck all the time."
Salmon said Americans want a balanced budget, energy independence and to "get the heavy-handed regulatory and Washington off of peoples' backs."
"We're going to have to … put things on the president's desk that he doesn't want on his desk," Salmon said. "For the last two years, he's been guarded by his lapdog Harry Reid.
"We need to deluge the president with what America wants and make it clear to the American people it is what America wants and make it clear to the American people it is a do-nothing president, not a do-nothing Congress."
In a later appearance Friday on "MidPoint," Salmon told host Ed Berliner that he is not threatening a repeat of a government shutdown in order to de-fund amnesty.
"Nobody is pursing any kind of shutdown," he said, insisting it's "just the media" whipping up government-shutdown talk in response to his efforts.
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Salmon argued instead that lawmakers will be committing "malpractice" if they don't fully exercise their constitutional power over budgeting to stipulate where funding goes — or doesn't go.
"Why not use every tool in our tool box?" he said, adding, "This is the biggest hammer that we have."
He also said that it's on his Republican colleagues not to back down in this fight.
"If we act like a bunch of sissies then we ought to be treated like a bunch of sissies," said Salmon.
He said his caucus ought to fear voters — who gave the GOP a resounding victory on Nov. 4 — more than it fears censure from the press, and he brushed aside the idea that the president is leading Republicans into a political trap on immigration.
Salmon noted that a year ago, the conventional D.C. wisdom was that voters would punish the GOP for a previous government-stopping showdown between the Republican-controlled House and the president.
"How did that work out in the last election?" he said.
Asked whether impeachment is an option if Obama does press ahead with executive amnesty, Salmon said that even if the House impeached him, Senate Republicans would need Democrats to reach the two-thirds vote threshold for a conviction and removal of the president from office.
Salmon said it is unlikely that "a single Democrat" in the Senate would vote to convict Obama.
Did that mean Salmon was ruling out impeachment proceedings in the House?
"I'm not ruling anything out," he said.
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