I don’t think the House leadership intended this to be funny. But it’s pretty funny.
Faced with a rebellion from the right, House Speaker John Boehner a short time ago pulled a bill that would have authorized $659 million in emergency spending to try to deal with the flow of unaccompanied minors across the Mexican border. It was a paltry sum and inadequate to the task, but at least it was a bill. The Democratic-controlled Senate was looking at a $2.7-billion measure. The Obama administration had requested $3.7 billion.
Boehner pulled the House measure after Sen. Ted Cruz muddied the waters during a meeting Wednesday night with Tea Party members of Congress, in which he urged his comrades in the other chamber to abandon the House bill in favor of his approach: to defund the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (a silly idea given how the program is funded). Boehner had agreed to let the House vote on that matter after the spending bill, but even then couldn’t get the votes, so the plug was pulled.
Boehner was able to get enough House Republicans on Wednesday to vote to sue Obama over his implementation of the Affordable Care Act – which the House keeps trying to repeal – because, the Republicans say, Obama abused his authority by delaying a provision that would penalize businesses if they failed to offer basic healthcare to workers.
So what did Boehner and the rest of the House leadership have to say after they failed to wrangle enough support among their own members to pass a simple spending bill?
“This situation shows the intense concern within our conference – and among the American people – about the need to ensure the security of our borders and the president’s refusal to faithfully execute our laws,” they said in a statement. “There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries.”
They want the president to act without them, even as they move to sue the presdient for acting without them. It’s a regular comedy show.
Follow Scott Martelle on Twitter @smartelle