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House Votes to Rebuke Obama on Immigration Order

House Votes to Rebuke Obama on Immigration Order

By Adam O'Neal - December 4, 2014

House Republicans, in a symbolic vote meant to appease conservative members of the conference, passed legislation Thursday rebuking President Obama over the immigration executive action he announced last month. But not every House conservative was satisfied with the move. 

“I don’t think it makes it clear enough that the president has clearly violated the Constitution of the United States,” said Rep. Steve King, noting that the legislation simply amounts to “a resolution of disagreement” with Obama. 

The bill, dubbed the Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act, establishes “a rule of construction clarifying the limitations on executive authority to provide certain forms of immigration relief.” As such, it won’t actually stop the executive action. What’s more, the Senate, while still in Democratic-hands, won’t take it up. 

King also took issue with a modification of the bill’s title, in which “executive amnesty” was changed to “executive overreach.” The switch, he noted, “tones it down a little bit for me.”

The tally was 219-197, with three Democrats joining 216 Republicans in voting yes. Seven Republicans voted no, and three voted “present."

Conservatives have lobbied House leadership to take a more confrontational stance over the executive action, arguing that Congress should use its power of the purse to curtail the president’s plans.  

“We will not allocate taxpayer dollars to lawless and illegal amnesty,” said Sen. Ted Cruz -- who has strategized with his counterparts in the House -- at a press conference Wednesday. The Cruz wing of the party has argued that Congress should defund any government agencies that implement the executive action.

A similar defunding plan tied to Obamacare led to last year’s government shutdown. Fears of a repeat -- which damaged Republicans politically -- have made House leadership wary of repeating such a step. 

Next week, the House is expected to pass a continuing resolution that funds the government until September 2015. The Department of Homeland Security, however, will deplete its funding earlier in the year, setting up a showdown with the president once a Republican majority takes hold of the Senate. 

House Democratic leaders, in a press conference Thursday morning, criticized the vote and again called for the House to pass comprehensive immigration reform. 

“In light of the fact that the Congress of the United States has shirked its responsibility, the president acted,” said Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. “He acted with authority that other presidents have exercised.” 

Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at aoneal@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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