By Robert Costa July 31 at 9:11 PM
The beginning of the collapse of House Speaker John A. Boehner’s border bill came Wednesday evening, when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz gathered more than a dozen House Republicans at his office in the Dirksen building on Capitol Hill.
It was there, as Boehner (R-Ohio) held his own meetings on the other side of Constitution Avenue, that Cruz heard that the speaker didn’t have enough votes — and realized that if his House allies held firm, he could rupture the fragile coalition supporting the measure.
Around the room — amid the boxes of pizza and cans of Dr Pepper, a Texas favorite — were longtime Cruz confidants, such as Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), and more recent ones, such as Reps. Todd Rokita (Ind.) and Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.).
For more than an hour, the 13 House members complained, often bitterly, about Boehner’s bill, several attendees said. The speaker, with his $659 million measure that would fund federal agencies and bolster security along the U.S.-Mexico border, was ignoring the real issue, they said.
The problem, they said, was President Obama’s Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program, the product of a 2012 executive order that granted temporary relief for some children of illegal immigrants. They wanted it gone, gutted, and they were furious that Boehner wouldn’t touch it.