President Barack Obama tore into the border legislation that House Republicans intend to vote on later Friday, lambasting them for taking a show vote that won’t solve anything.
“House Republicans as we speak are trying to pass the most extreme and unworkable versions of a bill that they already know is going nowhere, that can’t pass the Senate, and if it were to pass the Senate, I would veto. They know it,” he told reporters during a press conference about a variety of issues.
“They’re not even trying to actually solve the problem. This is a message bill that they couldn’t 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 they’re leaving town for a month,” he said.
As he spoke, Republicans were working on fast-tracking two bills to a full House vote. The first bill would provide $694 million to deal with the influx of 57,000 unaccompanied minors at the southern border, and change a 2008 law so as to speedily turn away all undocumented children coming to the border. If that passes, the House would vote on a second bill to end the president’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, requiring the deportation of so-called Dreamers and prohibiting legal status for anyone in the U.S. illegally.
Obama also slammed House GOP leaders for voting on Wednesday to sue him for unilateral actions, and then saying on Thursday he can act unilaterally to fix the crisis on the southern border.
“And yesterday … House Republicans suggested that since they don’t expect to actually pass a bill that I can sign, that I actually should go ahead and act on my own to solve the problem. Keep in mind that just a few days earlier, they voted to sue me for acting on my own,” the president said.
Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN) raved about the new House strategy, describing it as a strong rebuke to the president’s current and upcoming executive actions to grant certain unauthorized immigrants relief from deportation. Bachmann predicted it would change the immigration debate.
Obama also reiterated his intention to act on his own to reallocate U.S. enforcement resources away from low-priority migrants, a major upcoming decision that may reportedly shield millions from deportation.
“While they’re out on vacation, I’m going to have to make some tough choices to meet the challenge, with or without Congress,” he said.