Fox News host Bret Baier raised the notion that a possible forthcoming executive order on immigration from President Obama may be government "shutdown bait."
In June, President Obama announced he was considering issuing an executive order that could allow millions of law-abiding undocumented immigrants to stay temporarily in the United States. While the specifics of the possible order are still unknown, the Washington Post reported this "could include temporary relief for law-abiding undocumented immigrants who are closely related to U.S. citizens or those who have lived in the country a certain number of years."
On the August 28 edition of Special Report with Bret Baier, host Bret Baier speculated on whether President Obama's forthcoming order was "shutdown bait," designed to encourage the Republicans into shutting down the government in retaliation:
In fact, GOP lawmakers have been floating the idea of using a budget showdown in response to an executive order on immigration. In recent days, Republican lawmakers like Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) and Rep. Steve King (IA) have talked to reporters about using the budget and government funding mechanisms to address any action Obama takes on immigration. In a statement released by The Des Moines Register, King said that an executive order on immigration "changes the dynamic of any continuing resolution":
"If the president wields his pen and commits that unconstitutional act to legalize millions, I think that becomes something that is nearly political nuclear ...," King said. "I think the public would be mobilized and galvanized and that changes the dynamic of any continuing resolution and how we might deal with that."King said if that happens, House-passed legislation on border security, including rolling back the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, order, "becomes a requirement" for a continuing resolution.
Baier's question also came a day after The Week's Marc Ambinder noted that Rubio had "hinted that this might happen," and advised Democrats to "[g]o big on immigration. Wait for the GOP counter-reaction. Quietly pray for the government to get shut down. Use it like a cattle prod to wake voters up just before the midterms."
Immigration reform is popular with American voters: a Fox News poll conducted in January found that 68 percent of voters favor a pathway to citizenship for those currently in the country, and polls consistently find majorities in favor of some kind of pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants.
The right-wing media have a history of misleadingly blaming Democrats for government shutdowns. Sean Hannity named the October 2013 shutdown the "Obama-Reid shutdown," despite having previously pushed Republicans to shut down the government to dismantle Obamacare, and Rush Limbaugh claimed Democrats wanted to cause "pain" with a government shutdown and blame it on tea party Republicans. On Fox & Friends last September, the co-hosts described Obama and the Democrats as "the obstacle on the course" and the "one thing standing in the way" of shutdown negotiations.
Earlier this month, Charles Krauthammer and several other Fox personalities speculated that this executive order was "impeachment bait," designed to provoke Republicans into starting impeachment proceedings that would hurt them politically. Now, it seems "impeachment bait" is out, and "shutdown bait" is in.