White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday that President Barack Obama will block a government budget bill if the GOP denies him the funds needed to provide amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.
“Yes,” Earnest said when asked by ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl if Obama would veto a government-wide budget that defunded the amnesty program.
If Obama blocks the budget to help the illegals, large sections of the federal government would shut down on Dec. 12.
But Earnest equivocated when he was asked if Obama would shut down the government if the GOP denies amnesty just for the immigration agency.
“I don’t believe that members of Congress or the majority of members of Congress, will go along with efforts to shut down the govern in protest over the president’s executive actions on immigration,” he said.
Any veto would be a high-risk step by Obama, because it would brand the Democratic Party as willing to shut down the government to aid several million illegal immigrants.
That could help make immigration a central issue in the 2016 election and aid the GOP candidate in critical Midwestern states, where the economy has not fully recovered from the 2008 crash.
Since 2012, public opinion has shifted sharply against Obama’s immigration policies.
GOP legislators have drafted an appropriations rider that would temporarily block spending by one agency to implement the $2 trillion amnesty.
The rider would also shield Republicans from media-magnified Democratic claims that they’re willing to shut down the government.
The rider would be added to the 12-month appropriations bill, and would prevent any expenditures needed to implement the amnesty, which largely ends immigration enforcement, grants work-permits to four million illegals and boosts the inflow of university-trained guest workers.
Another option, backed by Rep. Tom Cotton, would only approve a few months of spending by immigration agencies. The short-term funding plan would allow the new House and Senate majority to block Obama’s amnesty early 2015.
Republican legislators will meet Tuesday to hear the strategy preferred by House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Whip Steve Scalise.
At least 60 GOP legislators — including Rep. Matt Salmon and Rep. Tom Price — want to block the amnesty, and they’re being backed up by many outside conservative groups that oppose Obama’s amnesty decision.
But many business-backed GOP legislators, and members of the powerful House appropriations committee, either back the amnesty or don’t want to fight against it, despite many polls showing significant public concerns.
The draft rider is modeled on routine language added to the year spending bills.
For example, the 2013 budget bill included a rider that limited federal spending of money taken in via fees paid by would-be immigrants to the Customs and Immigration Service agency.
“Notwithstanding section 1356(n) of title 8, United States Code, of the funds deposited into the Immigration Examinations Fee Account, $7,500,000 may be allocated by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in fiscal year 2014 for the purpose of providing an immigrant integration grants program,” the rider said.
Here is the draft language.
“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act, including funds or fees collected or otherwise made available for expenditure, may be used by any agency to implement, administer, enforce or carry out any of the policy changes set forth in (1) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Southern Border andApproaches Campaign dated November 20, 2014, (2) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants dated November 20, 2014, (3) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Secure Communities dated November 20, 2014, (4) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Personnel Reform for
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officers dated November 20, 2014, (5) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children and with Respect to Certain Individuals Who Are the Parents of U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents dated November 20, 2014, (6) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Expansion of the Provisional Waiver Program dated November 20, 2014, (7) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Policies Supporting U.S. High‐Skilled Businesses and Workers dated November 20, 2014, (8) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Families of U.S. Armed Forces Members and Enlistees dated November 20, 2014, (9) the
memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Directive to Provide Consistency Regarding Advance Parole dated November 20, 2014, (10) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Policies to Promote and Increase Access to U.S. Citizenship dated November 20, 2014; (11) the memorandum from the President titled Modernizing and Streamlining the U.S. Immigrant Visa System for the 21st Century dated November 21, 2014; (12) the memorandum from the President titled Creating Welcoming Communities and Fully Integrating Immigrants and Refugees dated November 21, 2014, or any substantially similar memoranda issued after these dates.”