Today, the United States House of Representatives passed a spending bill that would block President Obama’s action on immigration by altering funding for the Department of Homeland Security, the body overseeing immigration.
Reuters reported today that the House vote to block funding for DHS “sets up a potential showdown in coming weeks over funding for the sprawling agency that secures U.S. borders, airports and coastal waters. The [immigration provisions in the spending bill] could hamper Republicans’ efforts to boost their appeal among Hispanic voters in the 2016 presidential election.”
Again, Obama has said he’d veto the thin spending bill, if it doesn’t first peter out in the Senate. Prominent Democrats including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and White House spokesperson Josh Earnest have dismissed the bill as “pointless, political” and risky, respectively, particularly in the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in France.
That same Reuters report noted that while the DHS annual budget was actually increased by some $400 million in this spending bill, “Republicans attached several immigration-focused amendments, including one that prohibits spending to implement Obama’s November order to lift the threat of deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants.
Republicans also attached an amendment to reverse Obama’s 2012 initiative to defer deportation actions against more than 600,000 immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children.” Twenty-six Republican lawmakers voted against the bill, likely for a variety of reasons, and also likely as a result of how poorly this statement plays amongst Hispanic voters, a group that becomes more influential in each election cycle.
Of course, the Republican caucus reports this vote and the general disapproval of Obama’s executive action on immigration is more about its constitutionality and less about personal opinions regarding immigration. That may be true. I don’t think it is, but I also don’t think Republicans lawmakers are nearly as anti-immigration as it seems. In my view, it’s possible Republican lawmakers don’t hold any particularly strong views on immigration, but know simply that they must play to an anti-immigration base to get reelected.
Though I suppose that’s not much better than actually holding anti-immigration views. In fact, it might be worse – good laws can still be blocked, unjust laws can still be enforced, and at the end of a day, a lawmaker would have fought disingenuously. Seems a little strange. But if you want my honest opinion, I love to gamble and I love roulette. I’m putting my money on Odd.