Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, says President Obama’s loyalty to liberal special interests could doom Republican efforts to fund the Department of Homeland Security while blocking funding for Obama’s unilateral action to confer legal status on at least five million people in the nation illegally.
However, Flores said Obama is already taking additional actions to undermine the rule of law and American families before Congress even finishes it defunding efforts.
“I don’t hold out much hope for the president,” Flores said. “He puts the interests of others ahead of the interests of families.”
Congress did agree to fund the process to confer legal status on those millions of illegal aliens through the end of February as part of the “cromnibus” vote in December that postponed the long-term debate over Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, appropriations while funding the rest of government through September. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved legislation funding DHS through September but stripped out money to enforce Obama’s November memorandum.
However, the House legislation will need 60 votes to clear the U.S. Senate, and that appears very unlikely. Even if the votes do materialize, an Obama veto would make an override impossible. Republican leaders vow to push hard to pass the House bill, but they admit they’re not sure what to do if it fails.
But even if Republicans were to defy the odds and stop the funding, Flores said Obama is already tapping into other money to accomplish his goals.
“He’s taking the fees from people who are trying to go through the legal immigration process properly,” he said. “He’s using those fees to pay for the cost of trying to allow the folks that are here illegally to jump to the head of the line.”
Obama is not only treating legal immigrants worse than illegal ones, but Flores reminds American workers that the soon-to-be legalized immigrants will also have a major advantage when competing for jobs.
“He’s created this perverse incentive for American employers to hire illegals under this new program, over hiring Americans,” he said. “The employers don’t have to provide Obamacare. There’s certain other benefits they don’t have to provide. So you have a $3,000 advantage if you’re an employer to hire somebody here illegally than to hire legal American workers.”
Flores said this is just the latest punch in the gut to hard-working Americans.
“He’s put American workers at the back of the line, and this is after they’re already hurting under the Obama economic policies,” he said.
While the odds of victory seem slim in stopping Obama’s agenda, Flores said Republicans will continue to fight.
“Those of us in the House of Representatives who believe in the rule of law are going to side with the strong majority of Americans that thinks that the president’s action was improper and unlawful. So we are going to fight to stop this presidential action,” said Flores, pointing to constitutional clarity on how laws get changed in the United States.
“Article I of the Constitution says that Congress has the right to make all laws,” he said. “It doesn’t say anything about the president having any right to break the laws. It also doesn’t say the president has the right to make the law if Congress fails to act. If Congress addresses immigration reform, then that’s solely for us to do. If we elect not to address immigration reform, the president really doesn’t have any options. He has to live with that.”
Flores is also focused on a debate brewing among House Republicans. He chairs the Republican Study Committee, or RSC, a coalition of House conservatives that is the largest caucus on Capitol Hill. More than a dozen Republicans contend the RSC is becoming insufficiently conservative and are planning to form a new group designed to push GOP leaders to the right.
The congressman dismisses allegations that the RSC is too moderate or too timid in lobbying leadership.
“It is the largest, most conservative, most effective caucus in Congress,” he said. “There are at least 150 members of Congress, which make up about two-thirds of the House Republicans, that want to be part of that because it has the greatest ability to influence legislation and to push our leadership toward conservative principles.”.
As for the possible defections by some conservatives, Flores said he has no problem with the formation of other conservative groups that will advocate for conservative ideas.
“There’s room for other groups as well,” he said. “So to the extent that other members of the RSC would like to form another group to be part of so that they can talk about their ideas, I’m fine with that. I think it’s complementary, and most of those folks that are doing that are remaining as members of the RSC. So there’s not really a split in the RSC. There are just a smaller number of people that want to go form a group so that they can share their ideas among themselves. We applaud that move and think that it’s perfectly appropriate.”