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Tags: Jeff Sessions | John Fleming | immigration

Reps. Fleming, Sessions Spar Over House GOP Border Plan

By    |   Friday, 25 July 2014 08:27 PM EDT

A proposal by House Republicans to slash President Barack Obama's emergency aid request to address the illegal immigrant crisis is nothing more than "cover-your-butt legislation," Rep. John Fleming told Newsmax.

"It appears to me that it is an attempt to tell our constituents that we did the best we could," the Louisiana Republican said Friday "The problem is that we leave an opening for the Senate to add some really bad things to it and then send it right back to us."

Vote Now: Do you believe the Obama administration has secured our border with Mexico? Vote Now

But Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, chairman of the House Rules Committee, described the proposal as Republicans "putting together our ideas on moving forward to address this issue. Not to solve the problem, but to address the issue.

"What the Republican Conference is putting together is a group of action items — legislation and including appropriations — that will allow this conference to work with the president, with the Senate, to solve the problem at hand."

The two conservative Republicans offered differing opinions on the proposal that emerged from a closed meeting of the conference called by House Speaker John Boehner.

The plan came as Republicans sought to make some effort to address the problems created by the more than 57,000 illegal immigrant minors who have been detained at the South Texas border since Oct. 1.

Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency aid earlier this month to address what he has called "a humanitarian crisis," though House Republicans have  attributed the deluge to the administration's lax enforcement of immigration laws.

The illegals come from Mexico and such Central American countries as El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. The administration now estimates that as many as 90,000 could be apprehended after crossing the Rio Grande River by the end of September.

The GOP-controlled House is hoping to approve legislation before Congress adjourns for its five-week summer recess on Aug. 1. The $1 billion figure it is considering is less than the $1.5 billion recommended by a border crisis study group headed by Texas Rep. Kay Granger.

It includes provisions to send National Guard troops to the border, to make it easier for the administration to deport Central American children, and to freeze Obama's 2012 executive order that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by defunding it.

Democrats, who hold sway over the Senate, oppose revising the deportation law as part of a spending plan — and senators have proposed a $2.7 billion measure that would not address the deportation issue.

In a meeting with presidents from Central American countries Friday, Obama called on Republicans to grant his aid request before leaving Washington.

"It is my hope that Speaker Boehner and House Republicans will not leave town for the month of August for their vacations without doing something to help solve this problem," the president said. "We need action and less talk"

In his Newsmax interview, Fleming said he will not support any funding request — despite the amount.

"While it's exclusively Obama's problem — created by him, a man-made disaster — we're now going to join hands and accept responsibility for it," he said, referring to the crisis. "We're throwing him a lifeline.

Special: Caught on the Border - See the Video

"We're doing it at a time when the American people are very upset with the president for causing this and not really engaging on solving it."

Regardless of what the Republicans approve, neither Obama nor the Senate would support it, the three-term congressman said.

"The president is not going to sign this into law, because it actually does just the reverse of what he's actively doing now. The only value of this law is messaging purposes.

"Call it 'feel-good legislation.' Call it 'messaging legislation.' Call it 'cover-your-butt legislation,' " he said. "Although it has some things in it that are attractive, we all know that it's counter to what the president has done and wants to do.

"He can unilaterally undo what he has done — and we wouldn't have to pass anything."

Fleming said that he generally did not oppose any of the Granger panel's suggestions, but that — given the circumstances — they would exacerbate the situation.

"I have no argument with any one of these issues per se, but in totality, they're going to make the problem worse, given the other factors. They're going to cost money."

Sessions, however, acknowledged that the plan would cost "a little bit of money."

"It is also going to give the American people the opportunity to see what Republicans are doing in standing up for not just legal immigration, but for the laws of this country — and that we will not tolerate the problems that are going on the border," he told Newsmax.

"Solving the problems of the border is not just done in one day or one weekend, however. The long-term implications must be directed toward working with the administration in finding resolutions."

The congressman, a member of the House since 2003, refused to speculate on how any House GOP plan might fare in the Senate.

"There are a lot of 'what ifs.' The real question is will the Republicans in the House provide the American people and the United States Senate with a good, best option about what we think looks right? That's what we've got to do first.

"This is protecting the border and solving the problem at hand. That's the best we can do.

"We can keep second-guessing each other and do nothing, or we can say, 'We're going to draw the line here' and decide that we want to work for resolution of the problem. That's what we've chosen to do."

The Rules Committee will write up the proposal by Tuesday, Sessions said, adding that he expected a vote by the end of the week.

"I'm very excited about us moving forward on this."

Vote Now: Do you believe the Obama administration has secured our border with Mexico? Vote Now

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

A proposal by House Republicans to slash President Barack Obama's emergency aid request to address the illegal immigrant crisis is nothing more than "cover-your-butt legislation," Rep. John Fleming told Newsmax on Friday.
Jeff Sessions, John Fleming, immigration
Friday, 25 July 2014 08:27 PM
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