Coffman, Gardner avoid another DACA vote after House GOP fails to vote on border fix
DENVER — New House GOP leadership, same as the old House GOP leadership: unable to find enough votes within a divided caucus to call a vote on important legislation, in this case a modest $659 million spending measure to address the humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.
House Republicans, who have long called for strengthened security along the southern border but stood in the way of comprehensive immigration reform, are heading home for a five-week summer recess and heading into election season having failed to address an issue that could be a political liability for the GOP this fall.
With more than 20 conservative Republicans adamantly opposed to the plan along with all House Democrats, Speaker John Boehner decided not to put the proposal up for a vote at all, knowing certain defeat was in the offing.
Following the failure to call a vote Thursday, House Republican leaders urged President Obama to act on his own — a day after they voted to sue the president for acting unilaterally to implement the Affordable Care Act.
“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,” leadership said.
Thursday marked the first test for the revamped House GOP leadership team following the resignation of former Majority Leader Eric Cantor. House leadership had tried to mollify the caucus’ more conservative members by promising them a vote on curtailing the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA), which has spared many undocumented youths from being deported and is set to be renewed later this year.
While that might have enabled the passage of the border fix, it would have put Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman in a difficult spot. The Aurora Republican is fighting hard for reelection in a re-drawn district where Hispanic voters account for 13 percent of the electorate.
It also could have hurt Congressman Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, a U.S. Senate candidate looking to soften his conservative record in his first statewide race.
The Senate is also unlikely to clear a procedural hurdle to vote on its own $2.7 billion bill to address the border crisis.
The White House has requested that Congress approve $3.7 million to address the wave of more than 57,000 Central American migrants who have illegally crossed the border.