Opting for the preposterous when summoned to do the practical, House Republicans rallied Wednesday behind a measure to sue President Obama, then threw up their hands Thursday when called on to resolve the crisis of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors streaming across the southwestern border. Having postponed its planned Friday adjournment, the House now faces the choice of redeeming itself by acting on the humanitarian emergency or slinking away in disgrace.
The Republican immigration effort in the House was derailed by tea party backbenchers who, at the behest of their champion, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, refused to support any bill that did not also preemptively bar President Obama from shielding more undocumented immigrants from deportation. In service to partisan warfare against the president, conservatives opted to do nothing for the Central American children who continue to risk their lives crossing Mexico and entering the United States.
Senate Democrats did not look much more determined to deal with the immediate problem. What they had in mind, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid, D-Nev., was to use any legislation that passed the House as a vehicle to force negotiations over broader immigration reform legislation that the Senate approved last year.