House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) kept the threat of a government shutdown alive on Thursday when asked about President Barack Obama's plans for executive action on immigration.
The speaker was asked at a press conference whether he believes that a government funding bill should include language to block the president from making sweeping changes to immigration policy, which Obama may do as soon as next week.
"We're going to fight the president tooth and nail if he continues down this path. This is the wrong way to govern," Boehner said. Later, he added, "All of the options are on the table. We're having discussions with our members, and no decisions have been made as to how we will fight this if he proceeds."
Obama's planned executive action could lead to millions of undocumented immigrants being allowed to stay and work legally on a provisional basis, something Republicans have decried as "amnesty" and called unconstitutional.
Fifty-nine House Republican members have signed on to a letter from Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) urging the head of the Appropriations Committee to include language in funding bills to block Obama's executive action on immigration.
"As you know, the Congress has the power of the purse and should use it as a tool to prevent the President from implementing policies that are contrary to our laws and the desire of the American people," the letter reads.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) issued a statement on Thursday also calling for the House to use its "power of the purse" to block "Obama’s anticipated, unconstitutional act to be implemented, for if it is it will destroy the pillars of American Exceptionalism"
"The audacity of this President to think he can completely destroy the Rule of Law with the stroke of a pen is unfathomable to me," he said. "It is unconstitutional, it is cynical, and it violates the will of the American people. Our Republic will not stand if we tolerate a President who is set upon the complete destruction of the Rule of Law."
Boehner said in his press conference that their goal "is to stop the president from violating his own oath of office and violating the Constitution. It's not to shut down the government."
He said House Republicans can find other ways, even beyond the government funding measures, to respond if Obama makes immigration changes without Congressional approval.
"If he wants to go off on his own, there are things he's just not going to get," Boehner said.
A similar fight over immigration is brewing in the Senate, where Republican members have similarly promised to do anything they can to keep Obama's executive action from being implemented.
"If the president illegally tries to grant amnesty to millions of more people, I believe Congress should use every available tool to stop that amnesty and to defend the rule of law," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told The Huffington Post on Thursday.
But Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said at a Thursday press conference that Republicans "will not be shutting the government down or threatening to default on the national debt."
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