Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Tuesday suggested Republicans include a provision that would effectively deport some young undocumented immigrants in a crucial spending measure.
Cruz’s comments raise the possibility of another government shutdown.
The continuing resolution Cruz would pair with controversial immigration legislation needs to be passed by Sept. 30 if Congress wants to avoid a budget crisis for a second-consecutive year. Cruz described the shutdown threat as vital to confronting undocumented immigration.
“I think we should use any and all means necessary to prevent the president from illegally granting amnesty. Certainly I think it would be appropriate to include in the [continuing resolution], but I think we should use every tool at our disposal,” Cruz told reporters Tuesday, according to The Hill.
Asked about Cruz’s comments, a senior Senate Democratic aide told Business Insider that Cruz would, in effect, force a shutdown if he insisted on including a divisive immigration provision in the must-pass continuing resolution.
“If he’s insisting on attaching the DACA language to the CR, then he’s setting us up for a Ted Cruz-Sponsored Government Shutdown 2.0,” the aide told Business Insider, referring to the president’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Cruz’s comments came at a news conference on Capitol Hill with other conservative lawmakers. They urged the Senate to take up a House-passed bill that effectively ends Obama’s deportation-relief program for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
Obama unexpectedly said last weekend he would delay taking further executive action on immigration until after the election. However, congressional conservatives have targeted the DACA program as one of the main culprits for the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border this summer, when a surge of unaccompanied minors were apprehended trying to cross into the country.
Cruz, however, said he would wait to see the details of the continuing resolution before deciding whether or not to support it.
“I have a habit of waiting to actually see what’s in legislation before I make a decision whether I will support or oppose it,” he explained.
Cruz, of course, led the Republican charge to include Obamacare-defunding measures in last year’s continuing resolution. The dispute eventually led to the first federal-government shutdown in 20 years, lasting 16 days.
But lawmakers have been skittish about another similar standoff this year ahead of an important midterm election campaign, even deferring possible fights on divisive issues like the Export-Import Bank to later in the year or 2015.
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