GOP bill blocks Obama plan to water down pledge taken by new U.S. citizens

More than two dozen House Republicans have proposed a bill that would prevent the Obama administration from changing the Oath of Allegiance that people take when becoming naturalized U.S. citizens.

The bill from Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., is a reaction to last week's announcement that the Obama administration's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services wants to water down the oath. USCIS has said it will not require naturalized citizens to say they will "bear arms on behalf of the United States" or "perform noncombatant service."

The agency said it made the change to accommodate people's religion or conscientious objection. It said officials administering the naturalization oath are free to let people avoid those phrases if they claim to have a "deeply held moral or ethical code."

But the move angered many conservatives, who said the change further weakens U.S. immigration rules by giving people citizenship rights in the United States without some of the corresponding responsibilities to defend the nation. Black said Congress needs to ensure the Obama administration doesn't create a wave of naturalized citizens who don't feel obligated to defend the country they have adopted as their new home.