The new Congress has just started and leaders of the Republican Party, which now controls both the Senate and the House of Representatives, are already debating how to deal with the imminent possibility of a government shutdown over the issue of immigration reform.
On February 27th the Department of Homeland Security will run out of funding and conservatives want to make sure that any new legislation will stop the plan by President Obama to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. Last month the White House made it clear that any such measures would be vetoed by the President, potentially leading to another partial government shutdown if the hardliners refuse to back down.
A potentially larger shutdown was prevented by house speaker John Boehner last month. He passed government funding legislation for everything except the Department of Homeland Security on the grounds that challenging Obama’s executive action would be better served once the new Republican-dominated Congress had commenced in 2015. Yesterday Boehner indicated he had not changed his stance. “I said we would fight it tooth and nail when we had the majority, and I meant it,” he declared.
The Republican Party is divided on immigration reform. Some members are supporting it, or at least don’t want to be seen as being constantly at war with the White House, but the hardline conservatives are putting intense pressure on Boehner to fight the president as much as is legally possible.