Conservative Republicans trying to stop a House border security bill received an unexpected boost from the weather, when House leadership delayed votes on the bill due to concerns of a blizzard hitting D.C. tonight.
Some House Republicans have been frustrated by the hasty process that has gone into the drafting of the bill: House Homeland Security Committee chairman Michael McCaul’s border security bill went through a markup on Wednesday, then lawmakers were told they couldn’t file amendments after 10 am this morning. With Wednesday evening and Thursday devoted to an abortion debate and travel, that left just Friday for lawmakers to try to review the bill and craft amendments. The bill was initially set for a Tuesday vote, creating the sense that it was being ramrodded through the House, GOP representatives tell National Review Online.
“This is the fastest turn around from committee to floor that I’ve seen since I’ve been in the house,” one Republican congressman says.
That schedule was derailed Monday afternoon, when the leadership canceled this evening’s votes, which delays the votes on the border bill until next week.
At a minimum, this gives Republicans more time to file amendments, but the weather delay might lead to “killing it outright,” according to the lawmaker, because it gives “more time for the people and groups to engage.”
Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) and outside groups have attacked the House border bill as flawed for not addressing interior enforcement priorities, such as ending President Obama’s catch-and-release policies. Some House Republican critics of the bill believe this criticism is unfair, because those policies fall under the Judiciary Committee’s jurisdiction, but they dislike the McCaul bill for other reasons, such as the cost, the fact that it will take years to secure the border, and — most of all — the fear that GOP leadership plans to pass this bill as a consolation prize for conservatives who want a long fight against Obama’s executive amnesty.
“We don’t want to sell out the constitutional issue for a border bill that won’t be enforced until 2017,” the lawmaker says.