By Nick Timiraos, Wall Street Journal
House Republican leaders vowed Sunday to keep trying to block President Barack Obama ’s immigration measures as they continue to struggle over how to keep funding the Homeland Security Department.
Last week’s messy one-week extension of the agency’s funding exposed deep divides within the Republican Party over how to fight the administration’s actions without shutting down parts of the government.
“There’s an element within our party…which is absolutely irresponsible,” said Rep. Peter King (R., N.Y.) on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. He lashed out at conservative Republicans for their willingness to jeopardize national security funding. “They have no concept of reality,” he said.
Support for a one-week funding patch came together late Friday after a separate three-week short-term spending bill pushed by House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio), was defeated by his conservative flank. Funding for the agency had been set to expire at midnight.
Republicans have agreed to fund the agency but also want to use a spending bill to block implementation of Mr. Obama’s executive action on immigration, announced in November. Senate Democrats have prevented the bill from coming up for a vote in the Senate, which passed a separate measure Friday that didn’t include the immigration language. That bill passed on a 68-31 vote.
Mr. Boehner, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, said he didn’t believe conservative Republicans had a plan that could successfully have passed the Senate and been signed into law by Mr. Obama. “We get in an argument on tactics from time to time,” he said. “The goals are all the same.”
Rep. Steve Scalise, a conservative Republican from Louisiana who serves as the majority whip, urged the Senate to work with the House to pass a bill that would fund DHS and block the president’s immigration moves.
“Let’s go to conference and work out these differences and finally put a check on this president,” he said, speaking on Fox News Sunday. “We’re going to keep fighting this battle.”
Republicans tried to pin blame on Mr. Obama, who they said had overreached with his immigration action last fall. But they conceded in television interviews Sunday that they needed to do a better job making that case.
“Look, could we have done better Friday? Yes. And will we? Yes, we will,” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy, (R., Calif.) the House Majority Leader, on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Mr. Boehner, pressed if he could still lead the House of Representatives, said, “I think so. I’m not going to suggest it’s easy, because it’s not.”