President Barack Obama said on Friday that House Republicans are trying to pass the most extreme and unworkable version of an immigration bill even though they know the bill is going nowhere.
He was referring to the emergency funding legislation that House Republicans are trying to pass to deal with the influx of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border. Attached to that is a bill to prohibit undocumented young immigrants from renewing their two-year work permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Obama announced in 2012.
The House is expected to vote on the revised emergency funding legislation on Friday, a day after House Republican leaders canceled a vote on a similar bill. But Obama said Republicans know their legislation wont pass in the Senate. And even if it were to pass in the Senate, he said Republicans already know he would veto it.
Theyre not even trying to actually solve the problem, Obama said of House Republicans. This is a message bill that they couldnt quite pull off yesterday so they made it a little more extreme so maybe they can pass it today just so they can check a box before theyre leaving town for a month.
The president also noted that his administration has already been able to reduce the flow of children crossing the border using the resources it has. But he said that without additional resources and help from Congress, were just not going to have the resources we need to fully solve the problem.
That means that while theyre on vacation, Im going to have to make some tough choices to meet the challenge with or without Congress, Obama added.
In a statement, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner fired back at Obama, saying he has been completely AWOL when it comes to the humanitarian crisis along the southern border.
Senate Democrats have left town without acting on his request for a border supplemental, spokesman Michael Steel added. Right now, House Republicans are the only ones still working to address this crisis.
On Friday, House Republicans were still making last-minute changes to the their emergency funding legislation. The bill would provide the Obama administration a total of $694 million to address the border crisis surrounding unaccompanied minors. Included in that is 35 million that would go toward deploying National Guard troops to the southern border. The bill also includes changes to a 2008 anti-trafficking law to expedite the removal of unaccompanied minors.
The House Republicans emergency funding bill is far less than the $3.7 billion supplemental budge request made by Obama last month.