WASHINGTON - Success at the polls has done little to calm the internal rancor among congressional Republicans, who remain deeply divided over how to respond to President Obama's overhaul of the nation's immigration system.
The latest evidence came Tuesday as House Speaker John A. Boehner unveiled plans to avoid a government shutdown while allowing Republicans a chance to publicly repudiate Obama actions.
The hybrid path is a telling example of how Republicans may lead Congress next year: with anger toward Obama, whom they say has abused his powers, while staying wary of their own potential for overreach.
The approach would allow a vote this week on a bill to ban Obama from changing immigration laws. The largely symbolic legislation would be discarded by the Democratic-led Senate, but the vote would be seen as a victory by some tea party conservatives, including the bill's lead sponsor, Rep. Ted Yoho (R., Fla.).
'A good bill'
The speaker's decision to embrace Yoho's bill is a signal to conservatives that he is looking to one of their own as he plots his immigration gambit.
Yoho has been promoting the idea of impeaching Obama more than almost any other House Republican, and he voted against Boehner in the election for speaker two years ago. But Tuesday he discounted suggestions that Boehner's decision to bring him into the mix was a symbolic gesture designed to reassure conservatives.
"I don't think so," Yoho said. "[Boehner] said this was a good bill, and they're going to bring it up."
Once Yoho's bill is approved, the House would vote by next week to fund most government agencies through the end of the fiscal year in September. The one exception would be the Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for enforcement of immigration laws.
The DHS would be funded for a shorter period, but that time frame had not been determined as of Tuesday, aides said. The approach was introduced by Rep. Tom Price (R., Ga.), the incoming Budget Committee chairman. He and other Republicans believe the shorter timetable would give GOP lawmakers more time to find ways to chip away at Obama's executive actions.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson warned Republicans on Tuesday that incrementally funding his department risks the nation's security and his ability to enforce current immigration laws. Johnson clashed with GOP lawmakers Tuesday over Obama's actions during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing in which he asserted the president's right to defer deportations.
"The reality is that, for decades, presidents have used executive authority to enhance immigration policy," Johnson told the committee.