The Yoho bill was part of a two-part strategy by House GOP leadership to appease conservative immigration hardliners without risking a government shutdown. Their hope was that after approving it, Republicans would move on next week to vote on legislation to keep most of the government running for a year, with a shorter timeframe for the Homeland Security Department, which oversees immigration. The idea is to revisit Homeland Security early next year when Republicans will control both houses at the Capitol and have more leverage. The current government-funding measure expires Dec. 11 so a new one must pass by then.
But that approach doesn't go far enough for some immigration hardliners, goaded on by outside conservative groups and tea party senators including Ted Cruz of Texas. They say the only real way to stop Obama is to include language in the upcoming spending bill to block any money for his actions on immigration.
"I didn't come back here to just play games," said Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz. "Our voters who sent us back here in a resounding way in the majority, and retaking the majority in the Senate, expected us to be a little more forceful in our fight."
Republican leaders fear such spending-bill language could court an Obama veto and even a government shutdown. That's something they're determined to avoid, a year after taking a political hit for provoking a 16-day partial shutdown in an unsuccessful attempt to overturn Obama's health care law.
House Speaker John Boehner made clear Thursday that his strategy would go forward unchanged and indicated he anticipated Democratic votes would help pass the spending bill. That gives Democrats leverage, and they haven't indicated whether they will lend their support. It also could anger a bloc of conservatives in the House, but Boehner, who will control a larger House majority next year giving him more room to maneuver, showed little patience for their complaints.
"We think this is the most practical way to fight the president's action and frankly we listened to our members, and we listened to some members who are frankly griping the most. This was their idea of how to proceed," Boehner said.
The Associated Press