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House Passes Symbolic Vote Cancelling Obama's Immigration Action

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The House passed a bill today that declares President Obama's executive actions on immigration null and void. It's a largely symbolic vote though. The current Democratically controlled Senate won't take it up, and the White House has promised a veto. But as NPR's Juana Summers reports, the move by the House does set the stage for the real showdown over funding to keep the government running.

JUANA SUMMERS, BYLINE: This bill is a part of Republican leadership's strategy to appease conservative members who are enraged by the president's moves on immigration. They would temporarily shield some 4 million people in the country illegally from deportation. The bill is sponsored by Congressman Ted Yoho, Republican of Florida. He says it's meant to send Obama a message.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

CONGRESSMAN TED YOHO: It doesn't talk about granting amnesty. It just stops an unconstitutional action by our president. To vote no against this bill is to vote no against the Constitution.

SUMMERS: Democrats don't see it that way. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi called the bill cold-hearted.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

REPRESENTATIVE NANCY PELOSI: In response to this presidential action of common sense and compassion, Republicans are advancing today on this floor a radical bill of appalling callousness and cruelty.

SUMMERS: Republican leaders hope the bill will be enough to prevent a government shutdown. Some conservatives have said they want to add language to a government funding bill that would block Obama's action on immigration. House leaders are considering a proposal to fully fund all government agencies through September 2015, except the Department of Homeland Security which handles immigration. DHS would be funded only until February. That's about a month into the new Congress when Republicans will control both the House and Senate and have more leverage to block the president. Boehner calls his plan the most practical option.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: Frankly, we listen to our members, and we listen to some members who are frankly griping the most. This was their idea of how to proceed.

SUMMERS: There's little time left to find an agreement. The government will shut down unless a funding bill is passed by December 11.

Juana Summers, NPR News, the Capitol. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.