Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is calling on Republicans to avoid confirming President Barack Obama's nominees until he modifies his recent decision to spare millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Cruz joined a list of GOP members who are condemning the president for his choice on Thursday to take executive action on immigration, an ongoing, heated debate in Congress.
The first-term GOP senator on Sunday said Obama is going against what the American people want, and Republicans should refuse to confirm executive and judicial nominees, including Loretta Lynch, the president's new nominee for attorney general. Delayed action would allow current Attorney General Eric Holder to remain in the position. In April, Cruz wanted to impeach Holder for not fully investigating the Internal Revenue Service, which last year acknowledged that agents improperly targeted tea party groups for extra scrutiny.
"We should use the constitutional checks and balances we have to rein in the abuse of power of the executive," Cruz said on "Fox News Sunday." "Republicans need to actually do what we say we will do, and not just have a lot of empty smoke."
Cruz's condemnation of the president's actions echoed Republican House Speaker John Boehner's remarks that Obama is "acting like" a king and emperor. But even after the Senate approved an immigration bill more than a year ago, House Republicans failed to pass a comprehensive immigration reform measure. Last Thursday, Obama shared with Americans during a primetime address his decision to sign the most sweeping changes to the country's immigration laws in three decades. His action excuses millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States for three years.
During his first interview since he took action on immigration, Obama on Sunday challenged House Republicans to pass a bill if they are unsatisfied with his decision. "The primary response that I have to Speaker Boehner and others is: ‘Pass a bill,’” Obama told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.
Hours after Obama's immigration decision, House Republicans filed a long-anticipated lawsuit against the White House that accuses the Obama administration of abusing its power by making changes to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Some people blamed Cruz for causing the 16-day government shutdown last year following his 21-hour filibuster against Obama's health care law.
The Texas senator referenced the most recent “Saturday Night Live," in which cast members spoofed an episode from "Schoolhouse Rock" that explains how a bill becomes a law. Using catchy tunes from the former children's program, comedians Kenan Thompson and Bobby Moynihan detailed the steps of making a bill into law and the implementation of an executive order.
"I'm an executive order and I pretty much just happen. And that's it," Moynihan, acting as the executive action, says during the skit, which opened the show on Saturday night. When asked if the order has to go through Congress, he replied: "Aw, that's adorable. You still think that's how government works."
In the skit, Obama, played by Jay Pharoah, claims his executive authority.
"'Saturday Night Live' literally had the president pushing the bill down the steps of the Capitol because we no longer need the steps in the Constitution for how we pass laws," Cruz added during his interview, "because the president now is claiming unilateral authority the Constitution doesn't give him."