Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) backed down from a previous promise his spokeswoman made to Breitbart News that he would consider voting in favor of amendments to the Senate’s immigration bill that would close a loophole allowing illegal immigrants immediate access to state and local welfare.
When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) actually offered an amendment that would close the loophole during Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee markup of the bill, Flake joined Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and all the committee Democrats in opposing the amendment.
As Breitbart News has previously detailed, Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) found a loophole in the immigration bill that would allow illegal immigrants access to state and local welfare immediately and would allow them access to federal benefits sooner than Gang of Eight members had publicly promised.
In response to the story, Flake’s spokeswoman Genevieve Rozansky told Breitbart News her boss acknowledged the existence of the loophole and would consider supporting an amendment to close it.
The Cruz amendment that would have barred illegal immigrants from gaining access to state and local welfare immediately upon the bill’s passage reads in part:
“Notwithstanding any provision of this Act or any other provision of law, no alien who has entered or remained in the United States while not in lawful status under the Immigration and Nationality Act… shall be eligible for any Federal, State, or local government means-tested benefit, nor shall such alien be eligible for any benefit under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Pub. L. 111-148), regardless of the alien’s legal status at the time of application for such benefit.”
“The goal of the Gang of 8 bill is to not reward those who broke the law,” Rozansky told Breitbart News for the late April story. “It clearly prevents those with a provisional status from receiving federal benefits, but if other senators have ideas about how to prevent them from receiving state or local benefits that is consistent with the principle of federalism, Senator Flake would certainly be open to such an amendment.”
Rozansky did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday on why her boss did not follow through on the previous promise to close the state and local welfare loophole in the bill.
Flake’s and Graham’s fellow Judiciary Committee member Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was caught on a hot mic Monday organizing votes for amendments to the legislation, referring to Flake and Graham as GOP senators who belong to him and the Democrats. “Do our Republicans have a pass on this one if they want?” Schumer said as the committee was voting on an amendment that would prevent illegal immigrants from gaining access to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).