House Speaker John Boehner promised Friday that the Republican-controlled Congress would not "stand idle" in the wake of President Obama's executive action on immigration.
"The House will, in fact, act," Boehner said.
A little more than 12 hours after the president declared an executive action that is intended to provide deportation relief for an estimated 4.4 million immigrants in the country illegally, Boehner appeared resolute in his stance that Obama had stepped beyond the bounds of his executive authority.
During his address Thursday night, Obama challenged Republicans to "pass a bill" if they did not like the action he took. Boehner, however, dug in Friday, saying that was nearly impossible now that Obama had bypassed the trust of the GOP Conference.
"As I told the president yesterday, he is damaging the presidency itself," he said.
Boehner said that the House would use its authority to try to block the president's action, and he emphasized that now that Obama has acted alone, the chances of actually passing bipartisan immigration reform in his chamber had significantly decreased.
"The president has chosen to deliberately sabotage any bipartisan reforms that he claims to seek," Boehner said.
The Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill in 2013, but in two years the House has never acted on sweeping legislation. Some Republican senators, including John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, both of whom worked on the legislation in their chamber, said they were disappointed that Boehner had never taken up any of his own comprehensive measures.
It is unclear how much power Republicans in Congress have to stop the president's immigration action. While many have argued they should use the government funding process to combat the White House, appropriators in the House say that may be impossible because of the way the president designed his executive action.
After Boehner's press conference, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's spokesman, Drew Hammill, released a statement revealing just how contentious Capitol Hill is following the immigration announcement. Hammill accused Boehner of leading his party down the road to a government shutdown or "another legal vendetta against President Obama."
"Today, in the face of real leadership from the president, Speaker Boehner announced he will continue to surrender his gavel to the most radical and irresponsible anti-immigrant voices of his party," Hammill said in the statement.
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.
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