By Joe Guzzardi
December 5, 2014
The November mid-term election sent what should have been a unifying message to Republicans: Stop President Obama. But judging by the goings on during the lame duck session, House Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team didn’t get the memo.
On the perennially contentious issue, immigration, Boehner and his lieutenants are, despite their protestations, solidly lined up behind Obama’s executive order that will protect about 5 million aliens from deportation. Although Boehner has realistic and achievable budget options to counter Obama, he’s instead committed to the president’s unconstitutional immigration power grab.
Boehner has engaged in non-stop grandstanding about thwarting Obama not only this year on immigration, but also stymieing him next year on his entire legislative agenda. In his numerous speeches about immigration after Obama announced his unilateral action, Boehner warned the president that “he can’t be trusted,” has “sabotaged” future chances for a congressional solution, and is “damaging the presidency.”
Talk is cheap. But Boehner refuses to pursue forceful, legislatively doable action to derail Obama. In a showboating gesture, the House passed Ted Yolo’s (R-FL) “Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act,” a symbolic bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pledged not to bring to the floor and which Obama would veto even if it passed.
But when it comes to a true solution, Boehner has gone squishy, no surprise to those who have listened for years to his conciliatory, appeasing, and encouraging amnesty endorsements.
Boehner disingenuously argues that defunding Obama’s action is the wrong strategy and that he doesn’t want to risk shutting down the government over a budget dust up in the appropriations bill.
According to Boehner, withholding taxpayer money to process aliens’ new documents could trigger the shutdown. Furthermore, Boehner falsely claims that his GOP majority doesn’t agree with preventing the immediate issuance of five million work permits, social security cards and government-issued photo IDs.
In truth, there’s significant House resistance to Obama’s plan, so much that Boehner is consorting with the enemy, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, to round up enough Democratic votes to pass his desired version of the 2015 budget.
Boehner’s token gesture to appease his many Republican critics is to offer only 60 days of funding to the Department of Homeland Security and its component agencies to carry out Obama’s amnesty while funding the balance of the government for the entire year.
However, Boehner’s 60-day funding limit won’t do what he advertises. His appropriation bill can’t stop immigration agencies from using fees paid by would-be-immigrants when the two month limit expires. The White House will apply those monies to offset the bureaucratic overhead associated with printing the required documents, and amnesty rolls forward.
Immigration realists want to attach a rider that nullifies Obama’s so called deferred action to a bill that funds the Department of Homeland Security. Then, Republicans can claim that Obama has precipitated the government shut down while they argue that they’re defending the nation’s sovereignty.
If Boehner prevails, it will be bad news for the 18 million unemployed or underemployed Americans who have struggled with flat wages for a decade. They’ll complete with five million newly legalized workers, an additional one million legal immigrants annually, and 750,000 non-agricultural guest workers each year.
That’s imposing and possibly insurmountable competition for the relatively few jobs the economy creates. Boehner and the newly empowered Republican Congress should pursue an agenda that helps, not hurts, Americans.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]