Republicans should use the budget process to stop President Barack Obama's plans to grant work permits to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants because "he was not elected king," Rep. Marsha Blackburn told Newsmax on Thursday.
"He is president and he needs to realize that he is going to have to come to the Hill and work with Congress on this," the Tennessee Republican said. "We're certainly within our right if he does this to come back in and restrict funds and then to pass legislation that would affect that.
"This is just an inappropriate action," Blackburn added. "The president is overstepping his bounds and it's up to Congress to rein him back in."
Blackburn was among 62 House Republicans who signed a letter urging the House Appropriations Committee include language in any funding bill that would ban financing for Obama's plans to grant work permits to as many as 5 million illegals and expand a deportation deferral program that could affect as many as 300,000 others.
The moves are part of 10 executive actions that the president could announce as early as next week to address illegal immigration. The plans were first disclosed Wednesday
by Fox News.
One action would expand deportation deferrals not only to illegals who came to the U.S. as children, but to their parents, as well. It also would include the illegal parents of U.S. citizens — those who were born in this country — and of those who have become legal permanent residents. They all would be able to obtain U.S. work permits.
Others would provide more opportunities for illegals with high-tech skills and would add resources to secure the border with Mexico. Illegals with family ties in the United States and no criminal record also would be considered lower priority for deportation than those with criminal records or who are considered security risks.
Obama also would expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program he created in June 2012.
DACA affected millions of illegals who were brought to the United States as children before June 2007 and who were under 31 years old when the program started.
However, Obama would expand DACA to cover anyone who entered the United States before age 16 — and would move the cutoff date back to Jan. 1, 2010. The change could affect as many as 300,000 illegals.
The top two Republicans in Congress, House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have warned Obama against acting unilaterally on immigration.
Boehner said it would "poison the well" with GOP legislators, while McConnell said it was akin to "waving a red flag in front of a bull."
Other Republicans have called for using the budget process during the lame-duck session that began on Wednesday to stop Obama's planned actions. The federal government is funded through Dec. 11, and a new bill is being negotiated with the Senate.
Some House GOP members, however, argue that another omnibus bill should be approved to tide the government over until the new, Republican-controlled Congress meets in January.
That position has created up a potential showdown with McConnell and other GOP leaders, who said that the government should be financed through the end of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30. The move would eliminate the possibility of a shutdown until later in 2015.
McConnell said on the Senate floor on Wednesday that any unilateral move on immigration would smack of Obama's "old ways of doing business" — and that it "would be a big mistake."
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers warned Thursday that attaching an "immigration rider" to the budget bill could trigger another battle that could shut down the government. A 16-day partial government shutdown last year cost American taxpayers $1.4 billion.
"There's no one stronger than me again unilateral action by the president on this subject," Rogers, a Kentucky Republican, told reporters on Capitol Hill. "However, it's been said before: Don't take a hostage you can't shoot."
Blackburn joined 61 other Republicans in signing the letter seeking the immigration language in a new budget bill. The letter was written by Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon and was sent to Rogers and Rep. Nita Lowery of New York, the ranking Democrat on the appropriations panel.
"Our letter calls for plain language to be inserted into any spending bill passing this Congress that would clearly prohibit the use of appropriated funds for the president’s immigration machinations," Salmon said.
"Our Constitution makes clear that the president is not free to act as he sees fit without regard to our laws," he added. "It also includes language that gives Congress the power of the purse, a tool that has been used many times before to rein in out-of-control executive actions."
Rep. Paul Gosar, who also represents the Grand Canyon State, told Newsmax that he signed the letter because "my constituents, as well as the majority of Americans, have lost all faith in this 'commander-in-deceit' and his ability to uphold the rule of law.
"Upholding our immigration laws and stopping President Obama’s executive amnesty is my highest priority," he said. "We must do all that is within our power to make sure that the president does not defy the Constitution any further."
Texas Rep. Lamar Smith also supported the effort.
"These actions would be a direct hit on American workers and their families," Smith said of Obama's planned executive actions. "Many Americans are underemployed and are struggling to find full-time, good-paying jobs.
"By giving work permits to millions of illegal immigrants, the president has put them above the needs of millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans," Smith said.
Blackburn told Newsmax that any funding bill should include legislation that she sponsored that the House approved in August that would freeze funding
for DACA and would bar Obama from issuing work permits.
"The American people spoke with great clarity — and they're expecting us to rein this president in and to block some of this legislation that the president continues to try to push forward," she said. "I look forward to supporting a funding mechanism coming from the House that would include language that would rein the president in."
She said that Republicans should not give in to Obama's threats on immigration — and that any effort by the president to force the GOP to shut down the government would "backfire on him."
"We don't want a government shutdown," Blackburn said. "We are seeking to work with him. We have continued to try to work with him.
"If we were to do this, the onus is going to be on him for choosing to take a stand that is against the wishes of the American people and against the wishes of Congress."
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