According to House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the GOP has left President Obama no choice but to unilaterally mandate some sort of immigration reform. During a press briefing on Capitol Hill, Pelosi remarked:
“We want a bill. It’s over 500 days since the Senate passed a bill, and still no action by the House Republicans on anything — some small bill, some bigger bills, whatever. Nothing. Nothing. And, really, this is a dereliction of duty not to address the broken immigration system. We cannot have the public be misled by the fact that the president is acting as presidents do, because we are not acting as legislators do, to pass laws.”
Pelosi desperately tried to justify Obama’s action. “They[GOP] ran them [the principles] up the flagpole,” she said, “[and] their members chopped down the flagpole.” Pelosi also insisted the president has authority to generate laws: “The president has great authority in the law to take these actions and great precedent of so many presidents from Eisenhower on.”
Some Democrats have insisted Obama has the authority to make this kind of executive decision, citing actions of Ford, Reagan, Clinton and the first president Bush.
But others aren’t excited about Obama’s plans. “I wish he wouldn’t do it,” Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said. “I think we ought to work through this process, and with the new elections and the results of the elections, we ought to try in January to see if we can find a pathway to get something accomplished.”
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri said she supported comprehensive immigration reform but was concerned by Obama’s plan. “I have to be honest, how this is coming about makes me uncomfortable, I think it probably makes most Missourians uncomfortable.”
“I would prefer the Congress acted, yes,” Jon Tester (D-MT) said. “I think it would be great to have the House take up the Senate-passed bill. … That would be a solution to the problem.”