Republicans have promised that Congress will act to counter President Barack Obama's sweeping executive actions on immigration and deportations. But the party is divided on what to do, with the conservative flank pushing for confrontation while party leaders urge restraint and take the temperature for a more cautious approach.
"If we handle this poorly it could blow up in our face," said John Feehery, a longtime Republican strategist turned lobbyist who supports immigration reform.
One possibility that has faded quickly is impeachment. Even immigration reform arch-enemy Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has ruled it out. "I don't want to do the 'I word.' Nobody wants to throw the nation into that kind of turmoil," he told CNN on Thursday after Obama's announcement.
The GOP could begin to establish a course of action as early as next week, when Congress returns from the Thanksgiving recess, although it might take longer as some aides point out that the newly elected senators will want to have a say once they take office in January.
"There are options like funding restrictions, or just straight-up legislation. But people are looking at all kinds of ideas," one senior Republican aide said.
Here is the TPM breakdown of the possible scenarios, with early and unofficial, back-of-the-envelope probabilities for each one being attempted (none of which precludes other options). Each option contains significant pitfalls for Republicans when it comes to ultimately reversing what they universally decry as a lawless usurpation of legislative power by Obama.
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