The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill that aims to block President Obama from carrying out his plan to offer deportation relief to up to 5 million unauthorized immigrants.
The chamber passed the legislation on a vote of 219 to 197. Sponsored by the brilliantly named Tea Party congressman Ted Yoho of Florida, the bill would prohibit executive actions that extend deportation reprieves to unauthorized immigrants.
On Nov. 20, Obama announced that the U.S. would allow many immigrants with family ties to remain in the country, provided they don't have criminal records.
Yoho's bill is not long for this world. It is dead on arrival in the Senate, which will be controlled by Democrats until January.
The vote comes as Republicans grapple with internal divisions over how to respond to Obama's action. Strident conservatives like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are pushing for a plan that would defund the president's policy in a must-pass spending bill, while others in the party, including Arizona Sen. John McCain and North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, are cautioning against such a confrontational approach, saying it could backfire on the party. McCain warned Wednesday that Cruz's proposal could spark another government shutdown. He and Burr both face potentially tight reelection campaigns in 2016.
Under a plan floated by House Speaker John Boehner, the House would vote next week on legislation funding the government for the entire fiscal year, and revisit funding for immigration-related government agencies in early 2015, when Republicans will enjoy full control of Congress. Boehner's proposal has caught fire among Republicans looking for a way to avoid a political fiasco over the administration's immigration action, but it has failed to satisfy the GOP's restive Tea Party faction.