Ted Cruz looks to steer House conservatives on immigration

Alex Wong, Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, one of the Senate's most outspoken conservatives, is stepping into the middle of House Republican politics yet again.

Cruz held court in his office with about a dozen of the House's most ardent conservatives Wednesday night, according to news reports. On the agenda: ways to limit the president's future authority on executive immigration decisions.

While the House and Senate already far apart on how to handle the arrival of more than 60,000 children at the southern border, Cruz's demands only widen that gap. He introduced legislation in the Senate earlier this month that would bar the administration from using taxpayer funds to expand theDeferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that provided deportation relief for certain immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Cruz and many other Republicans have pointed to that program as a source of the spike in children, who they come to the U.S. believing they will be allowed to say.

His bill would also prevent the administration from "continuing to lawlessly grant amnesty and work permits to new immigrants to enter the country illegally," according to his office.

Cruz had expressed disappointment that the House's proposal to authorize an additional $659 billion for the cash-strapped agencies dealing with the crisis.

"Because of President Obama's amnesty, children are being abused and exploited by dangerous drug cartels and transnational gangs. We must put an end to any expansion of this amnesty that puts countless numbers of vulnerable individuals, both immigrants and U.S. citizens alike, at risk," he said. "Congress cannot hope to solve this problem without addressing the fundamental cause of it."

The meeting was a gathering of like minds. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., one of the reported attendees, has introduced a companion bill to Cruz's in the house. And the other members in attendance, ranging from Iowa Rep. Steve King to Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, according to Roll Call, represent some of the most conservative members of the House. If those 13 find the House's legislation to be lacking, it could cause problems for the Republican leaderships as they work to round up GOP votes.

The House leadership has thrown in a last-minute vote on legislation to prohibit future funding for DACA.

But Cruz's meeting of the minds with House conservatives - last on display when he helped push them toward a shutdown of the federal government last fall - is rubbing some House Republicans the wrong way.

"The Obama White House should put Ted Cruz on the payroll," Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told the Washington Post. "We have a chance to pass a good bill, not a perfect bill. Boehner is working hard to get to 218 votes and yet there is Ted Cruz, telling us to do nothing. If he wants to come over and run for speaker, that's fine, but otherwise he should stay over there in the Senate."

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.