Short on votes, House Republicans abruptly abandoned a bill Thursday to address the immigration crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border after last-minute maneuvering failed to lock down conservative support. An hour later, they called an urgent meeting to plot their next moves.
The surprise developments, coming on Congress’ final day of action ahead of a five-week summer recess, were an embarrassing setback for Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team as a small group of tea party lawmakers once again upset their plans.
Even if Boehner succeeded in reviving the border bill, there was no chance it could be reconciled with a very different version awaiting action in the Senate in time to send to President Barack Obama before Congress heads on its summer recess Friday.
The developments were also a disappointment for the majority of House Republicans who were eager to produce a legislative solution to the situation on the border, where tens of thousands of unaccompanied children have been showing up from chaotic Central American nations and crossing illegally into the United States. Many Republican lawmakers were reluctant to return to their districts to face voters without having acted.