Prospect of Another DC Shutdown Looms Over Immigration Showdown

(Susan Walsh/AP Photo)

The prospect of another economically and politically crippling government shutdown looms over President Obama's talk of taking executive action on immigration next month and Republican threats to thwart him by blocking certain funding measures.

Republicans insist they are not interested in another shutdown and that the possibility is being raised by fear mongering Democrats, but the GOP does raise the possibility of using a September vote on a continuing resolution to fund the government as a weapon against any executive action by Obama.

Obama is considering execution action to fix the country's immigration system as Congress remains at a stalemate over immigration legislation passed in the Senate last summer. The White House has not laid out a concrete deadline, but it's expected he will announce his decision in September.

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Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, told the Des Moines Register "all bets are off" for passing a continuing resolution if President Obama decides to take executive action on immigration.

"If the president wields his pen and commits that unconstitutional act to legalize millions, I think that becomes something that is nearly political nuclear," King said. "I think the public would be mobilized and galvanized and that changes the dynamic of any continuing resolution and how we might deal with that."

In an interview with Breitbart News, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., hinted at Congress potentially using the budget process to address any executive action on immigration this year.

"There will have to be some sort of a budget vote or a Continuing Resolution vote, so I assume there will be some sort of a vote on this," Rubio said. "I'm interested to see what kinds of ideas my colleagues have about using funding mechanisms to address this issue. Beyond that, I'm not sure if the president is going to make this decision before we go back or after."

Democrats are highlighting these statements as examples of Republicans threatening to allow another government shutdown to take place.

"As we near the 1-year anniversary of the Republican Government Shutdown of 2013 that cost our nation's economy $24 billion -Republican leaders, once again, prefer to threaten another government shutdown over advancing essential legislation," said Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. "It's time to end the kowtowing to the Tea Party extremist elements, get serious about legislating for the American people, and take these ridiculous threats off the table."

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said a government shutdown threat would not make the president reconsider potential executive action on immigration.

"No, it won't because the president has determined to take the kinds of common sense steps that are required to address the worst problems of our…broken immigrations system," Earnest said. "It would be a real shame if Republicans were to engage in an effort to shut down the government over a common sense solution like that, but they've done it before. Hopefully they won't do it again."

A spokesman for Rubio said the senator is not interested in shutting down the government over an immigration fight.

"The only people talking about shutting down the government are partisan extremists like Debbie Wasserman Schultz who are looking for a way to raise money and divert attention from the failed presidency of Barack Obama," said Alex Conant, a spokesman for Rubio. "All Senator Rubio has called for is for Senator Reid to allow votes on Republican solutions to the immigration catastrophe our nation faces. Let's be clear: The only thing Senator Rubio wants to shut down is Harry Reid's tenure as majority leader by winning a Republican majority this November."

Congress is set to return from recess on Sept. 8 and will have only a few weeks to pass a continuing resolution to avoid another government shutdown. Last October, the government shutdown for 16 days after Republicans fought to defund the Affordable Care Act.

The White House has not laid out a concrete timeline, but it is expected that the president will take some form of executive action on immigration in September. In a letter to the president earlier this week, Rubio warned that any executive action on immigration would kill the prospect of immigration reform in Congress.

"If indeed you move forward on such a decision, I believe it will close the door to any chance of making progress on immigration reform for the foreseeable future," Rubio wrote.