A day after Republicans took a border security bill off of the House schedule this week because of internal opposition, Speaker John Boehner acknowledged to reporters that it has not been smooth sailing so far in 2015 for House GOP leaders.
“Yeah, there have been a couple of stumbles,” Boehner told reporters at a U.S. Capitol news conference, though he argued it’s part of “the effort to show the American people that we’re here to listen to their priorities.
For Boehner, it was yet another week where GOP infighting was on display – last week, a revolt by moderates and Republican women sunk a bill on late term abortion – this time the GOP gave up on a limited border security bill as some conservatives demanded a broader approach against illegal immigration.
“I would love to see us do something constructive,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), one GOP member demanding a broader bill; Brooks labeled the border security plan that had been set for a vote this week a “mirage.”
But other GOP lawmakers noted that last year, many Republicans had told Boehner not to move a broad bill on illegal immigration, and instead act on smaller pieces of immigration bills.
“Frankly there was some criticism last week – however well-intentioned – that was simply misinformed,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), who joined other Republicans in being somewhat puzzled about the GOP opposition to the border security bill.
“We as Republicans said from the start that we were going to do border security first,” said Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA).
“That’s what I had hoped that we would take up first,” Scott said, as he emerged from a closed-door GOP meeting that focused on the immigration issue.
“When we’re ready to move, we will,” Boehner told reporters.
In that meeting, Speaker Boehner also outlined to fellow Republicans plans for a possible lawsuit against President Obama over his executive actions on immigration.
One option is to have the House GOP join in a lawsuit launched by a group of states against the President’s plans, which would temporarily end the threat of deportation for some 4-5 million people in the U.S. illegally.