Republicans Threaten To Shut Down The Government If Obama Extends Relief To Immigrants

CREDIT: AP/Alex Brandon

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) floated the possibility of shutting down the government on Wednesday if President Obama issues an executive action granting deportation relief to more undocumented immigrants. King’s comments come just one day after Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) suggested that Republicans in the Senate use “funding mechanisms to address this issue.”

“If the president wields his pen and commits that unconstitutional act to legalize millions, I think that becomes something that is nearly political nuclear,” King said in remarks before the Westside Conservative Breakfast Club in Urbandale, Iowa, adding that “all bets are off” on passing a measure to keep the government running past October.

“I think the public would be mobilized and galvanized and that changes the dynamic of any continuing resolution and how we might deal with that,” he added.

Congress will have just 10 working days to pass a continuing resolution after it returns from summer vacation on September 8. Several Republicans have already threatened to hold up the measure over renewal of the Export-Import Bank and the administration’s proposed environmental regulations, though no party leaders have yet endorsed using must-pass legislation to prevent the administration’s forthcoming immigration action.

Speaking to Breitbart, Rubio said he would be “interested to see what kinds of ideas my colleagues have about using funding mechanisms to address this issue.”

Earlier this month, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told a Politico reporter that Republicans would strong arm President Obama into adopting a host of Republican policy priorities, from repealing the Affordable Care Act to undoing environmental regulations, but did not specifically mention immigration.

In the House, Republicans approved a bill that would end the Obama administration’s Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which has allowed young immigrants to obtain work permits and remain in the country. The measure would also prohibit the president from extending the program to other undocumented people. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) did not say if he plans to attach the measure to the continuing resolution.

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest called King’s latest threat, “a real shame.” The government shutdown that ended last October took $24 billion out of the U.S. economy, according to a Standard & Poor’s estimate, and a loss of 120,000 new jobs by the White House’s estimate.