Davis speaks on legislative votes, Boehner
CHAMPAIGN — U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis on Monday defended his vote for a bill that would lead to the deportation of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from central American countries.
Although the Republican-controlled House passed the bill last week, it has no chance of becoming law. The Democratic-controlled Senate did not take up the bill and President Obama said he would veto it.
Also Monday, Davis voiced strong support for House Speaker John Boehner in an appearance before the Active Senior Republican group meeting at the Champaign Public Library. Coincidentally, Boehner was scheduled to appear with Davis later Monday at a private fundraiser in Davis' hometown of Taylorville.
When one member of the senior Republicans group told Davis that "you need to get rid of" Boehner, and others in the audience applauded, Davis immediately stepped to the speaker's defense.
"I can tell you that you're completely wrong on that issue," Davis said. "He goes with what our (Republican) conference wants, and when it blows up he doesn't stand up and blame anybody. He stands up and says, 'This was my decision.' That shows me true leadership. He doesn't care what anybody thinks about it."
Later, in an interview, Davis acknowledged that in addition to twice coming to his central Illinois district to campaign for him, Boehner has helped him in Washington.
"He has supported me by allowing me to get on two conference committees and allowed a freshman like me to help craft the farm bill that saved $23 billion in mandatory spending and he allowed me to serve on a conference committee to address our (Water Resources and Reform Development Act) issues," Davis said. "He's given me opportunities to govern. That's what I told my constituents in this district that I would do if they elected me."
Boehner's Freedom Project political action committee also has contributed $5,000 to Davis' campaign fund in this election cycle.
Davis said last week's House vote would "stop incentivizing families from sending their children on a very dangerous journey" to the U.S. border with Mexico. The House action would undo the Obama administration's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
"I could not imagine sending my two eighth-graders on a walk to Champaign from Taylorville," he said. "We all have to appreciate that people want to live the American dream that we take for granted. But we can't incentivize families to make that decision.
"What we did last week is we changed that executive order to stop incentivizing that journey, which I know is also going to include money that was already going to be given to the governments of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, and we've reprogrammed that money for repatriating. America's the most generous country in the world but we also have to make sure that we don't create a crisis by incentivizing families to make that dangerous, dangerous decision."
Davis also defended his vote in favor of a House GOP plan to sue Obama over his enforcement of the federal Affordable Care Act.
"It was not my first choice. My choice would be to have a president and an administration that wants to work with Congress instead of governing by the rulemaking process," Davis said.
"We've got to come together and govern. We've got great examples of doing that with the farm bill and WRDA and the transportation bill and the VA fix right now. These are great examples of where we can work together."
Asked how the House Republicans' lawsuit would help that cooperation, Davis answered with his own question.
"Does the president basically governing without Congress help the process? What we haven't seen out of this administration is accountability," he said. "And what this does is it helps to hold the administration accountable for some of the decisions that they're making that are affecting hard-working taxpayers in the country. That's exactly why this step had to be taken."