House Republican leaders Monday pulled a controversial, party-sponsored border security bill from a vote scheduled later this week, citing poor weather conditions in the Northeast.
However, Republican and Democratic opponents of the bill contend that the leadership pulled it for lack of support.
House leaders postponed all Monday votes as blizzard conditions socked-in much of the Northeast. The cancellation further truncated a short congressional work week. The House is scheduled to adjourn Wednesday so the chamber’s Democrats can attend a retreat in Philadelphia the rest of the week.
A House Republican leadership aide said ‘there are no scheduling announcements at this time’ regarding the border security bill.
The measure would require the Department of Homeland Security to have ‘operational control’ of the southwest border to prevent illegal crossings into the United States within five years.
Many congressional Republicans have said that they won’t consider a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws until the border is secure.
But the bill, sponsored by House Homeland Security Chair Mike McCaul, R-Texas, has encountered opposition from Republicans and conversvatives who contend that the legislation does little to counteract President Barack Obama’s immigration executive actions.
Heritage Action, the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, said that McCaul’s bill distracts from a Department of Homeland Security funding bill that the House passed earlier this month that included amendments to reverse some of Obama’s immigration orders.
While House Republican leaders insist that bill fell to weather conditions, opposing Republicans, Democrats and outside groups say that there currently aren’t enough votes to pass it.
‘We certainly have weather, I live in Massachusetts,’ said Jessica Vaughn, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies. ‘The more important factor is this bill is not satisfactory for too many people in the Republican conference. (House Speaker John Boehner) has to come up with a Plan B to unify his conference going forward.’
The Hill, a Capitol Hill publication, reported that the Republican leadership had intended to gauge support for the bill among its members on Monday and during a weekly conference meeting Tuesday.