John Boehner's two-step strategy to oppose President Obama's immigration plan while at the same avoiding a government shutdown got past step one today. The House easily approved a measure that would prohibit the White House from protecting millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation, reports the Hill. In terms of immigration, it's only a symbolic gesture because the legislation stands no chance in the Senate. The vote is still important, however, because it sets up Boehner to pass a spending bill next week before the government runs out of money on Dec. 11, reports AP. Conservatives opposed to Obama's executive order on immigration had wanted to tie the immigration and spending bills together, but Boehner, fearing a shutdown for which Republicans would be blamed, kept them separate, reports the Washington Post.
Step two comes next week when the House will vote on legislation to keep most of the government running for a year. As a concession to hardliners, the Department of Homeland Security—the agency that oversees immigration—will get funding only through February, giving the new Congress a chance to debate the issue. One wildcard: Boehner is expected to lose votes from conservatives who don't think he's being aggressive enough against Obama, and he will likely need Democratic votes. Nancy Pelosi, however, has been noncommittal to gain leverage on the final bill's details, reports Politico. "We can't do it unless we have a bill that is worthy of our support," she said today, as quoted in the LA Times. (Read more immigration stories.)