Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the Ranking Member on the Budget Committee, killed the Senate’s $3.6 billion border funding bill on Thursday evening after Democrats could not get enough votes to waive his budget point of order.
After Sessions raised the point of order because the legislation violated the Budget Control Act, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the Appropriations Chair and author of the bill, moved to waive all points of border on the bill. But she could not get the 60 required votes to do so. Mikulski’s motion failed by a 50-44 vote, and the bill did not advance just hours after House GOP leaders reportedly expressed frustration that Sessions’ opposition to its border bill caused them to pull it. House GOP leaders spent the rest of day scrambling, and ultimately decided to postpone the start of the August recess so Republicans could meet on Friday to discuss the bill.
Sessions convinced House Republicans earlier in the day not to vote for their border bill because it did not explicitly prevent President Barack Obama from using federal funds to enact more grants of executive amnesty and work permits to potentially millions of more illegal immigrants.
Before raising the point of order on the Senate’s border bill, which would borrow 100% of the proposed funds while not preventing Obama’s potential executive amnesty, Sessions had failed to get 50 Senators to support allowing amendments to the bill. Sessions wanted Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) bill, which would prevent Obama from using federal funds to implement his executive amnesty, to be considered.
Denouncing the “5-6 million additional work permits for illegal immigrants” that Obama is set to grant through unlawful executive fiat, Sessions said Obama’s potential action “would be an executive nullification of our laws.”
“Congress must not surrender to this lawlessness,” he said while asking for amendments to be considered. “If we do not block this executive action, we will ensure that the border crisis becomes a catastrophe.”
Sessions also said that Obama’s “planned action would also represent a total breach of our Constitutional system” and “be a hammer blow to millions of unemployed American citizens.”
“The vote we are about to have will be a vote on whether to support the President’s illegal executive amnesty, or to stop it,” he said. “Everyone in this chamber will cast a vote before this whole nation and reveal whether they stand for our laws and our sovereign borders, or whether they stand with the President’s illegal activities.”
Sessions could not get the support to get amendments considered, but he prevailed with his point of order to kill the supplemental funding bill.