Lawmakers Discuss Rejecting Immigration Plan Without a Shutdown

House Republicans are looking for ways to keep the government running past Dec. 11 while sending a message to President Barack Obama that they reject his authority to stop deporting some undocumented immigrants.

Republicans, meeting privately later today, are considering several options, including whether to separate immigration-related sections from a large funding measure.

Congress must pass funding legislation by Dec. 11 or risk a partial government shutdown.

Options being discussed include conducting a symbolic vote on legislation, H.R. 5759, that seeks to make it illegal for the executive branch to exempt from deportation “persons unlawfully present in the United States,” according to a Republican House leadership aide who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Such a vote would give House members a chance to vent by supporting a bill they know wouldn’t advance in the Senate, which is led by the Democrats.

In addition, Arizona Representative Matt Salmon said he’ll float a proposal to insert into the spending bill a provision that would order the Department of Homeland Security not to implement Obama’s Nov. 21 immigration memorandum. If that became part of the bill, it could provoke a presidential veto.

Representative Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, a member of the Republican leadership, told reporters that leaders wouldn’t necessarily seek an immediate decision because “we need to give members time to process what the options are.”

Deal Sought

House and Senate appropriators continue to advocate passing a measure that funds all departments including homeland security through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. They are trying to reach a deal on its contents by Dec. 5.

The current fiscal year began Oct. 1, and the government has been operating on temporary funding that will run out Dec. 11. House Speaker John Boehner and other leaders have said Republicans won’t create a repeat of the 16-day partial government shutdown in October 2013, which resulted from Republican insistence on defunding Obamacare.

The president issued a Nov. 21 document temporarily halting deportations for about 5 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. His directive will defer for three years the deportation of people who arrived in the U.S. as children and for parents of children who are citizens or legal permanent residents.

The Department of Homeland Security also will streamline the visa process for foreign workers and their employers and give high-skilled workers more flexible work authorization.

Obama has said he would veto any legislation that would block his immigration orders.

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