President Barack Obama won’t trim his unilateral amnesty, even by a tiny bit, to get a compromise that would allow bipartisan funding for the Department of Homeland Security, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Thursday.
“Will the president change that executive action in any way in order to secure funding for the Department of Homeland Security?” a reporter asked Earnest.
“No, its not going to happen,” Earnest replied.
Obama’s hard-nosed strategy would deny routine payroll checks to tens of thousands of American law-enforcement officials until the GOP agrees to let him provide work-permits to illegal aliens so they can compete for jobs against Americans.
Currently, Democratic leaders are promising to block agency funding until the GOP gives up trying to stop Obama’s very unpopular amnesty.
That ambitious strategy is widening a deep split within the Republican Party between its business-funded pro-amnesty establishment wing and its anti-amnesty electorate.
Major business interests support Obama’s November amnesty, and are pushing for a new immigration law that would allow an unlimited inflow of foreign professionals for jobs also sought by recent American graduates.
But numerous polls show that almost 90 percent of the GOP’s base opposes the amnesty, which would end repatriation for nearly 12 million illegal aliens, and also provide work permits for roughly 5 million migrants.
The amnesty, and Obama’s immigration policies, are also very unpopular among the swing-voters who will decide the 2016 election.
In December, pressure from GOP voters forced the House leadership to limit funding for DHS only until the end of February.
In January, the GOP passed another bill that would fund the DHS for the rest of the year, and also bar any funding to implement Obama’s amnesty.
Obama and the Democrats are now threatening to block the GOP’s funding bill until Republicans agree to allow the agency to implement Obama’s amnesty.
This hard-nosed strategy is forcing the GOP leadership to either abandon its voters by funding the amnesty, or develop a strategy to win the PR battle as Democrats use the media to blame them for the shutdown.
If the agency does not get funding after Feb. 27, the agency law enforcement officials — border officers, Secret Service guards, customs officials — will continue to work, but will get not get paychecks until a budget deal is completed.
Winning the PR battle is difficult, partly because Republican leaders don’t want to fight it, but also because the established media echoes Democratic talking-points.
In December, Republicans could have blocked Obama’s strategy by using their budget power to bar spending on Obama’s amnesty in 2015. Instead, GOP leaders made a deal with Obama that funded his amnesty in exchange for his support for a deal that aided Wall Street.
In his Jan. 29 press conference, Earnest used several poll-tested themes to blame the GOP for Obama’s DHS shutdown strategy.
“The funding for the Department of Homeland Security is not a political football, and the Representatives shouldn’t treat it as one,” he said.
“Republicans, for the last six years aggressively campaigned all across the country to the American people about why they should be put in charge of the United States Congress and we have seen now that they’re in charge of the U.S. Congress, and less than a month later, they’re threatening to shut down the department of Homeland Security.”.
“They’re threatening to say ‘We’re going to withhold paychecks from the people who are on the front lines, keeping America safe,’” he said.
For law enforcement officers, “it is important for them to know that their political leaders have their back,” Earnest stated.
“I don’t know what more you could to undermine the relationship between political leaders and law enforcement than to threaten to withhold their paychecks, even while they’re doing their job.”