Sometimes, umbrellas are opened before it rains. That is what several Republican lawmakers are doing when they speculate about a potential government shutdown if President Barack Obama issues executive orders on immigration.
The White House has been analyzing its options for a while. In recent days, its officials met with representatives of business sectors to give shape to what would be the Obama administration’s response to the failure of immigration reform in the House of Representatives. Much has been said about the reach of an executive order of this kind and the various possibilities that the president has before him.
Likewise, people are evaluating what is the most convenient action politically to respond to the urgent needs of the Latino and immigrant communities, and for Democratic federal lawmakers who face re-election in November.
No one knows concretely what Obama’s action will be. However, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) implied that for whatever action the president takes, there are funding mechanisms that can be blocked when the budget extension gets voted on before October.
This would mean doing with immigration the same that was done with Obamacare, which led to a government shutdown.
Recalcitrant Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said that “all bets are off” on the budget if there is executive action on immigration. Meanwhile, Rep. Paul Ryan said that there won’t be a government shutdown, and added that if there is one, Democrats will be to blame.
The House leadership apparently would like not to link the budget extension to presidential executive action on immigration. The offer to conservatives is separate, another bill to express dissatisfaction with Obama.
However, this would not be the first time that House Speaker John Boehner has to change plans and surrender to pressure from the toughest anti-immigration wing. If there is a lesson based on experience, a government shutdown one month before the election would be the biggest favor Republicans can do for Democrats.