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,” said Rep. John Fleming.
“It appears to me that it is an attempt to tell our constituents that we did the best we could,” the Louisiana Republican said. “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.”
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 idea comes 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 wanted $3.7 billion, but Republicans, and some Democrats said no.
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.
But many Democrats don’t want to change the law. You see, they realize these are future Democrat voters. At the same time, senators have proposed a $2.7 billion measure that would not address the deportation issue.
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”
Obama, we’ve already had action, your “executive action”, which caused this mess. And just think, he’s said if congress doesn’t act soon, he will.
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.”
The congressman, a member of the House since 2003, refused to speculate on how any House GOP plan might fare in the Senate.