Sen. Jeff Sessions said on Wednesday that Republicans should use the budget process to block President Barack Obama's planned executive orders on illegal immigration, starting with legislation to keep the government running past Dec. 11.
"The president wants to create a massive system to provide millions of people, apparently, with lawful status, lawful ID cards, take law-enforcement officers from their duties to enforce the law and have them process this legal status, which Congress has explicitly rejected," the Alabama Republican said, according to The Washington Post.
"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," he said.
Sessions, who would become chairman of the Senate Budget Committee in January, said Republicans should not vote on any long-term government funding bill because many Democrats lost their elections last week.
Democrats "shouldn't be entitled to bind the country next year, when we've got a new Congress," Sessions said, adding that a short-term bill "would be smart for a lot of reasons."
Primarily, it would give Republicans the opportunity to defund any immigration programs put in place under Obama's executive orders, the Post reports.
The current funding for the federal government ends on Dec. 11. That was approved just before Congress adjourned for the midterm campaign season.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans hope to pass a bill during the lame-duck session that would finance the government through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2015.
Such a bill would reduce the chances of a government shutdown until late next year, the Post reports.
McConnell, who was elected to a sixth term in last week's elections, will become majority leader when the new Congress convenes in January.
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