Conservatives in the House of Representatives urged Ted Cruz and other Senate Republicans on Wednesday to step up their fight to block President Barack Obama's immigration initiatives.
House Republicans appeared worried their Senate counterparts were too quickly giving up the battle to pass a House-approved bill blocking Obama's executive action lifting the threat of deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants.
The immigration provisions are included in a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, a sprawling agency that secures U.S. borders, airports and coastal waters.
Senate Republican leaders warned last week it would be difficult to get the 60 votes needed to overcome Democratic procedural hurdles. Republicans now control the Senate with a 54-vote majority.
Representative Raul Labrador, a Tea Party favorite from Idaho, said at a news conference with other conservatives that it was "high time that (Senators) Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and others decide that they are going to start fighting in the Senate using the Senate procedural rules, and not just looking at the House as a place where the fights are going to happen."
Cruz, a Texas senator and Tea Party hero who is considered a possible 2016 presidential contender, has pushed House conservatives to act in the past, most notably in forcing a government shutdown in 2013 while trying to scale back Obama's healthcare law.
Arizona Representative Matt Salmon said he did not want to name senators, but expressed a similar frustration.
"I'm speaking to our conservative counterparts ... on the Senate side, who have said time and time again, 'you in the House need to do this, you in the House need to do that.' Well you know what? Now it's in the Senate and they have an opportunity to shine, and to do their job," Salmon said.
A Cruz spokeswoman said the senator was "fully committed ... to work with his colleagues" to stop Obama's immigration actions. A Lee spokesman said: "It absolutely is time to fight for the House bill."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned Republicans at a retreat last week that even the new Senate Republican majority did not mean he could get legislation through the Senate.
"If we're unable to do that, then we'll let you know what comes next," McConnell said of the House-passed funding bill.
The White House has said it would veto a Homeland Security funding bill with immigration restrictions, and many lawmakers in both chambers are unwilling to shut down the department.
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