John Boehner Downplays GOP Divisions In DHS Fight

03/01/2015 02:02 pm ET | Updated Mar 01, 2015
Win McNamee via Getty Images

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) sought to downplay divisions among his caucus after the House nearly shut down the Department of Homeland Security at the last minute on Friday.

On Sunday, Boehner blamed President Barack Obama, not his caucus, for behaving irresponsibly.

"We do have some members who disagree from time to time over the tactics we decide to employ," he said. "But remember, Republicans are united in this idea that the president has far exceeded his constitutional authority, and we all want to do things to stop the president from his illicit activity."

Boehner's comments came after House GOP leaders were caught off guard when the chamber failed to pass a three-week continuing resolution to fund DHS that they thought had enough Republican support. The House wound up passing a last-minute one-week funding extension instead.

Some Republicans refused to support funding for DHS as long as it included money for Obama's executive actions on immigration, while others wanted to pass the three-week measure. Republicans hoped the three-week extension would have given them more time to work out a deal with the Senate and see how a federal lawsuit against Obama's executive actions proceeded.

Boehner's attempt to portray Republican solidarity was echoed on Sunday by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who said on NBC's "Meet The Press" that the GOP conference was "united in principle."

When Boehner was pressed on the actions of those in his party who refused to support funding for DHS unless it defunded Obama's executive actions, he said that he didn't believe they offered a feasible solution that could become law.

As House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said that Republicans didn't have a plan to fund DHS past Friday, Boehner also declined to say whether he would bring a bill to fund the agency for the rest of the year to the floor next week.

Despite the House's last-minute theatrics, Boehner said that he thought he could still lead the lower chamber: "I'm not gonna suggest it's easy, because it's not."

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