The Hill reports: “The incoming chairman of the House Budget Committee is pushing GOP leaders to pursue a government-funding measure that would only fund immigration-related services for a couple of months, a GOP congressional aide told The Hill. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) calls his proposal the ‘cromnibus,’ because it is a combination of a long-term omnibus spending bill and a short-term continuing resolution.”

The plan will not please everyone on the right — some certainly make it a point never to be pleased — but it has several virtues. First, it puts a shutdown of the entire government out of reach until September. That in turn leaves the GOP time and space to work on things it wants to accomplish, such as an energy bill, an Obamacare alternative and higher education reform. Second, by separating the immigration functions, the plan prevents Congress from acquiescing in President Obama’s scheme. Sure, fees may fund the main portion of his delayed deportation scheme, but Congress should not give its stamp of approval by funding it, not unless and until the president signs some border security, visa overstay, E-Verify and H-1B visa measures. Third, it lets the president — not the GOP — take the heat for a while, something the GOP shutdown squad never managed to do last year.

Already Obama seems to be digging himself a hole. In Chicago he let on, in response to a heckler: “Now, you’re absolutely right that there have been significant numbers of deportations. That’s true. But what you are not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law.” Er, doesn’t he mean utilize the executive discretion, which is no big deal, because every president did it?

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More telling than the president’s slip is public opinion, which suggests that voters are unenthusiastic about the executive action and really unenthusiastic about him. A Quinnipiac University poll reports that 45 percent approve of him taking executive action while 48 percent do not. (Independents oppose the idea by a 51 to 40 percent margin.) Meanwhile, his own approval rating is down to 39 percent, just a point above his all-time low in the poll.

Unfortunately, as critics anticipated, Obama is ruining support for immigration reform:

48 percent of American voters say [illegal immigrants] should be allowed to stay, with a path to citizenship, down from 57 percent November 13, 2013, and the lowest this number ever has been; 11 percent say immigrants should be allowed to stay, but not be allowed to apply for citizenship, consistent with previous surveys; [and] 35 percent say illegal immigrants should be required to leave the U.S., up from 26 percent 12 months ago and higher than this number ever has been. . . . “While President Barack Obama’s popularity wallows, support for immigrants wanes as Americans look at immigration reform with ambivalence,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

But here, too, Republicans should heed the warning about a shutdown: By a huge 68 to 25 percent margin, Americans oppose a shutdown of “major activities of the federal government.” The poll director adds: “Americans seem divided on immigration, but they agree on one thing: They don’t want a government shutdown over President Obama’s action on immigration.”

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In sum, keeping the focus on Obama while doing positive things for the country seems to be the GOP’s best approach. Price’s plan allows the party to do this. It is noteworthy that the shutdown — and maybe the shutdown leaders — left a bad taste in the mouths of Republicans. “Only 44 percent of Republicans support a shutdown, with 47 percent opposed.”

The plan won’t “stop” Obama, but then, Congress has limited tools to achieve that. The best forum for halting Obama in his tracks will come in court, in suits filed by the states. In the meantime, Price’s plan should keep the GOP from doing itself harm and make sure that the public understands this is Obama’s sole — and illegitimate — effort to rewrite the law without Congress.

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