The House Leadership’s Border-Bill Woes

Why is the House Republican leadership having such trouble getting its stripped-down border-security spending bill through? Before today’s 3 p.m. emergency conference meeting with all House GOP members, the whip count showed the bill with 214 votes, including a few Democrats — four short of a majority.

House members who’ve been whipped by the leadership say there are many reasons the bill is meeting resistance. Some believe it will make it easier for the Obama administration to admit illegal aliens and some are against allocating money they believe will be misspent on failed security programs. But a big reason is that a prohibition on the government giving breaks to aliens set for deportation wasn’t included in the bill. GOP leaders wanted it to be voted on separately. Many members believe that with the prohibition attached, the bill would sail through. But the deportation language could be construed as blaming President Obama’s 2012 decision to block the deportation of underage aliens for part of the current crisis. “The House leadership doesn’t want to put a bunch of members on the record as being hostile to a form of amnesty, when that might have to be part of a future compromise immigration bill,” one member told me.

The failure of the border-security bill — so far — is yet more evidence that the administration and congressional leadership are so little trusted by House rank-and-file to act in good faith when it comes to immigration that the default position now is that nothing will be done. 

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