Federal Relations

July 31, 2014

House Melts Down

In what was supposed to be the last series of votes before the August Recess, the House has pulled a vote for legislation that would fund the border crisis. Both an emergency funding measure and a measure  to limit the Deferred Action on Child Arrivals (DACA) program, for which consideration was dependent on the funding measure passing, have been pulled at the last minute, causing mass confusing and potential political disaster just before the August recess.

House Republican leadership has pulled the $659 million supplemental funding bill to fund the efforts at the Mexican border. Earlier this month, President Obama requested nearly $3 billion to fund federal agency efforts in border states responding to a swell of young and underage immigrants from Central America.  Under the House rules for the supplemental, consideration of the supplemental was required before the House could consider and vote on a bill to limit the DACA program, which defers deportations of certain undocumented people who came to the United States as children.

Not long after noon, it became clear that House Republican Leadership did not have the votes. Led by Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Tea Party-aligned Members revolted, saying that the supplemental appropriations bill did not go far enough to stem the flow of new migrants and threatened to vote against the GOP-authored measure.

Rather than see the measure defeated, it was pulled from consideration.

The DACA legislation had been unlikely to advance in the Senate and already had been ticketed for a presidential veto.

The decision to pull the $659 million measure is a major embarrassment for new House Republican leadership team. This was first major effort by Rep. Steve Scalise, who was recently elected Majority Whip.

The House will likely consider a revamped funding measure on Friday.