Sen. Mike Lee said even though the Senate failed to rally behind Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's attempt to vote down President Barack Obama's executive order on immigration, GOP lawmakers would work to impose limits on the president's spending for it early next year when Democrats become the minority in Congress.
Senators approved by a 56-40 vote Saturday a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government, thereby averting a shutdown. Cruz, supported by Lee, angered Democrats and some fellow Republicans when he moved to force a vote in the Senate on Obama's immigration order, which failed by a wide margin of 74-22.
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"In February, the funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which is in charge of implementing and enforcing our immigration laws, including the president's recent program on this, will run out of funding," said Lee, a Utah Republican.
"I do believe, and I do expect, and I think most of our party's base and membership expects that we will do something meaningful to impose a limitation, a spending limitation, on the president's ability to implement this program," the Utah Republican told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Monday.
Lee said despite losing the vote on Saturday, the effort was still "worth it when you stand behind the American people, who want to make sure that these things are being voted on."
He said his overall opposition to the spending bill had to do "with the fact this was a 1,600-plus page bill that was prepared in secret behind closed doors," but that the immigration amendment Cruz added gave lawmakers an option "to signal their opposition to what the president was doing."
Saturday's vote also enabled Democrats to approve a number of stalled Obama nominees to executive branch positions, but Lee maintained that "not one person will be confirmed as a result of this that would not otherwise have been confirmed."
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