Even as Republicans get ready to take charge of the U.S. Senate in January, all signs are pointing to a intense political showdown before that change in power occurs over executive actions on immigration by President Obama, which could well thrust the issue to the top of the agenda in the new Congress.
A day after the President made clear he would push ahead with unilateral actions, Speaker John Boehner joined Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell in warning the President not to make that choice, arguing it would ‘poison the well’ between the parties.
“When you play with matches, then you take the risk of burning yourself, and he’s going to burn himself if he continues to go down this path,” Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill.
The original White House plan was to push ahead with executive actions on immigration before the November elections – but when it became apparent that could cause major problems for Democrats – the President agreed to wait until later in the year.
And when you look at the calendar, there isn’t much time between now and New Year’s for such decisions.
“I have no doubt that there will be some Republicans who are angered or frustrated by any executive action that I may take,” the President said at his post-election news conference.
“Those are folks, I just have to say, who are also deeply opposed to immigration reform in any form and blocked the House from being able to pass a bipartisan bill,” he added.
Still, action on immigration could unleash a storm of protest from the GOP – and even some Democrats.