President Barack Obama rejected the $694 million House immigration bill sponsored by Republican (GOP) members of Congress, according to ABC News on Saturday. Obama called the bill "extreme" and "unworkable," and described it as a "message bill." Obama denoted that the bill serves the purpose of enabling GOP members of Congress to go home empty handed after accomplishing nothing and "check" the "box" on immigration to appear that they have accomplished something in the last Congressional session after all.
Although Obama commended the GOP House members for bills to provide support to the Veterans Administration, and to finance the Administration's transportation fund, he stated that the "big ticket items" simply are not being addressed by the GOP run Congress. Obama also described the bill as "partisan" and as just allowing Republicans to "check a box before leaving town." Obama then stated that the bill would not pass Congress and promised to veto it if it were to pass:
“It won’t pass the Senate and if it did, I would veto it. They know that.”
The latest version of the GOP immigration bill has a total cost of $694 million, having increased by $35 million after House leaders agreed to raise the allotment for The National Guard. The original House bill totaled $571 million, and included $40 million for repatriation aide of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Republicans also are likely to modify the Deferred Action on Child Arrivals (DACA) which postpones deportations and humanitarian aid to immigrant children who are not accompanied by parents.
Rep. John Carter (R,Tx) expressed his confidence in the bill after contemplating the projected GOP modifications to the bill:
"If it is what they say it is, I think we are going to have a good conservative bill."
Conservative GOP Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, (R,Mi), who originally opposed the bill but changed her mind after modifications were made to the bill barring renewal of terminated work permits, described the "message" that the bill sends:
"This is a brand new bill. It is a clean, comprehensive DACA bill, which means that we are going to be sending a message to the Central American countries... you will be sent back to your country."
Former House Speaker and current member of Congress, Nancy Pelosi, (D,Ca), was not so optimistic about the bill. Stating that Congress could have come together to work out this matter, Pelosi was highly critical of the GOP members of Congress for turning so much to the right:
"Today could have been an opportunity for coming together. The Republicans have moved more to the right. Not to the correct, but to the right."