JUST IN: House to Leave for Summer Recess Without Passing Border Bill
Political watchers have wondered in the past few weeks whether Congress could move on legislation to address the border crisis before their August recess. Today we got the answer as news broke that House Republicans could not get enough support to pass legislation.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) expressed the opinion that "doing something is better than doing nothing." He said the crisis will continue until action is taken by Congress, adding that President Obama is "clearly not going to act."
The Senate has their own bill, but it's not believed they have enough votes either. Congress is now set to go on a five-week break.
Emergency legislation meant to address the border crisis abruptly was abandoned Thursday afternoon in the House, after Republican leaders were unable to round up enough support to pass it.
Fox News is told lawmakers plan to leave for the August recess without voting on the measure. Sources said GOP leaders were "way short" of the votes they needed, with conservative lawmakers joining Democrats in refusing to back the package.
The Senate still has a border bill on its plate, but without action in the House it appears Congress cannot approve any border legislation at least until after the five-week recess.
A joint statement from House Republican leaders said the "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."
In the absence of legislation, Republicans urged President Obama to act on his own to secure the borders and safely deport illegal immigrant children safely.
"We will continue to work on solutions to the border crisis and other challenges facing our country," they said.
But Senate Democrats blasted their House colleagues for dropping the legislation entirely. "Shame on the House of Representatives," Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said.
The legislation's prospects changed quickly over the course of the day. Initially, House leaders thought they had a plan to win enough support, by scheduling a separate vote on legislation to prohibit Obama from expanding a policy that lets some illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children stay. Amid reports that the administration is considering such an expansion, the bill by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., would specifically bar the president from broadening the 2012 policy.
Republicans say another illegal immigrant reprieve by the president would only exacerbate the surge of illegal immigrant children trekking to the U.S.-Mexico border from Central America.
"Such action would create an even greater incentive for more illegal crossings and make the crisis on our border even worse, and that would be a grave mistake," House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday.