Short of votes to pass their border supplemental, House Republicans scrambled on Wednesday night to avoid having to go home without acting to address the crisis of some 57,000 unaccompanied minors at the southern border within the last year.
Seeking to placate conservatives, GOP leaders opted to set up a two-prong vote for Thursday. The first is on their $659 million border supplemental bill which also toughens border laws. If that passes, there’ll be a vote after that to end the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, created by executive order in 2012.
The change of plan comes after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) reportedly urged House conservatives to vote against any border bill that doesn’t stop the administration from enrolling any new beneficiaries under DACA, creating familiar headaches for House Republican leaders seeking to corral the votes.
The measure to end DACA would be the third time in the 113th Congress that the House has voted to reverse or halt the program. They are the only immigration-related bills that have been allowed votes in the full House.
Even if both GOP bills pass the House, neither of them have a fighting chance in the Democratic-led Senate, which is struggling to pass a separate proposal. The White House has threatened to veto the House GOP’s supplemental. At this point, the two parties want to pass something before the August recess, if largely for political cover.
In a statement Thursday, the White House slammed the GOP’s planned vote to end DACA as “extraordinary” given the House’s failure to act to overhaul immigration, calling DACA “the most significant progress we have made toward immigration reform in years.”
“By failing to act on an immigration reform bill that requires that people who are here illegally pay taxes, undergo background checks and get on the right side of the law, the House is instead driving an approach that is about rounding up and deporting 11 million people, separating families, and undermining DHS’ ability to secure the border,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
This article was updated at 10:38 A.M. to include the White House’s response.