Last night the U.S. House approved a $1.1 trillion “cromnibus,” a massive continuing resolution to fund most of the federal government through September 2015. The 219 to 206 roll call showed an unusual bipartisan split, with 162 Republicans and 57 Democrats supporting the bill, while 67 Republicans and 139 Democrats voted against it. Many of the most outspoken House progressives and conservatives were against the cromnibus, for different reasons. Only one of Iowa’s four U.S. House members voted yes: retiring Republican Tom Latham (IA-03). I have not seen any official statement explaining his reasons.
Republican Steve King (IA-04) opposed the bill primarily because in his view, it did not do enough to block funding for President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. I’ve posted some of King’s recent statements on the issue after the jump. King’s office has not responded to my request for comment on assertions by House Appropriations Committee staff that it would be “impossible” to defend the immigration order. King offered an amendment (full text here) which would have funded “all of the government until January 30 of next year but [would] prohibit any and all funds from being used to carry out the president’s lawless, unconstitutional executive amnesty in all its forms.” But an analysis by Scott Wong for The Hill suggests that the Obama administration would be able to carry out the executive order even if Congress shut down the federal government.
Iowa Democrats Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) both voted against the funding bill. I have not seen any official statement explaining those votes but will update this post as needed.
Representative Steve King press release, December 9 (emphasis in original):
King: No Provision for Funding Now and Fighting Later
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Steve King released the following statement regarding the upcoming vote on continued funding of the federal government. House Leaders are preparing to move an omnibus spending bill that would provide funding for all departments of government except the Department of Homeland Security(DHS) which would be funded in a short term continuing resolution(CR).
The President of the United States has violated the separation of powers doctrine of the Constitution by lawlessly issuing executive amnesty directives for an estimated 5 million people. A short term CR for DHS coupled with full funding of the balance of government until September 30th gives away almost all of the leverage of Congress to restrain a president by using the “power of the purse.”
“The promise to fight later is not new but an actual all out effort by Congress to defund Obama’s violations thereby defending the Constitution would be new,” said King. “This battle must be enjoined and the time is now. Anything less and House Republicans will have funded unconstitutional acts. All of us took an oath to defend the Constitution. Our oath means do so come what may. There is no provision for funding now and fighting later. There is no exception for political expediency and we will be called upon in early January to take the oath for the next Congress.
“If we fund DHS for a short time without spending limitations stripping Obama Amnesty, we will have lost our Constitutional virtue. It will be nearly impossible to get it back in Congress or in the courts. That’s why I’ll offer an amendment to restore immigration policy back to current law. Keep in mind, the Obama Administration issued DACA cards and work permits during the shutdown. They would not hesitate to shut down DHS because USCIS employees were paid on time while Border Patrol agents had to wait until after the shutdown.
“To preserve leverage, my amendment will fund all of the government until January 30 of next year but will prohibit any and all funds from being used to carry out the president’s unconstitutional, executive amnesty in all its forms.”