Tags: Immigration | Republicans | congress | federal budget | shutdown | immigration

GOP Weighs Using Budget as Way to Wield Power

By    |   Thursday, 13 November 2014 01:09 PM

With less than a month to go before a lack of action on the federal budget could cause a government shutdown, Republicans are split over how to use their newfound power.

A realistic budget plan comes down to only a few choices, according to The Hill: approve a long-term budget funding extension through September 2015; a shorter budget extension that could allow Congress to block funding as a tactic to use against President Obama over amnesty for illegal immigrants or other issues; or attempt to pass an omnibus spending bill.

In the Republicans' first conference session since the GOP sweep of the midterm elections, no firm agreement emerged, but some trends were obvious.

"I don't think a full-year omnibus makes much sense, but there was no decision in there. Nobody wants a shutdown," Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas told The Hill.

"My read of the conference is very few people want to do long-term [continuing resolution (CR)] and give up all the power we just achieved in the elections."

Once Republicans take their seats in January, they will have control of the government's purse. They would be able to cut funding to stop Obama's planned executive action on amnesty for illegals.

The House is expected to unveil a plan for a $1 trillion omnibus spending bill in early December to fund the government through the end of September 2015, Reuters reports.

Some members, like Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, favor that action. However, he told the Hill, "I'm certainly willing to consider things like that but again, I don't want to hold the government hostage to achieve an unrelated result.

"I think we tried that during the shutdown over Obamacare and that was not successful. I don't think we'll be successful here."

Last year, a 16-day shutdown took place after Republicans failed to stop the funding for Obamacare, Reuters noted.

Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama told Reuters he favors a short-term extension, noting, "Sen. Reid [D-Nev.] shouldn't be entitled to bind the country next year when we've got a new Congress."

Republican Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona has circulated a letter to 50 House Republicans, asking them to bar spending federal funds on any resolution granting amnesty to illegal immigrants, The Hill reports.

Sessions told Reuters, "If Congress disapproves of the president providing ID cards and all that for people who've been in the country illegally, they should not appropriate the money to fund it."

Former Senate Budget Committee staff director Hazen Marshall told The New York Times, "There's going to be a strong commitment to get a budget done for no other reason than they've made such a big deal about the other side failing, but that doesn't mean it's going to be easy.

"At the end of the day, you've got to get a majority."

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With less than a month to go before a lack of action on the federal budget could cause a government shutdown, Republicans are split over how to use their newfound power.
Republicans, congress, federal budget, shutdown, immigration
Thursday, 13 November 2014 01:09 PM
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