Several GOP senators are rallying behind a call from Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to pressure Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid into allowing a Senate vote on the House-passed bill that would block President Obama’s executive amnesty.
“President Obama has repeatedly proven he will side step the role of Congress when he finds it politically expedient,” National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) told Breitbart News. “On an issue of such significance, the American people deserve to have their voices heard through an open process. Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Democrats should allow a vote on the House-passed anti-DACA Bill. I am a cosponsor of a Senate version of this legislation and believe Americans’ elected representatives should be allowed to debate and vote on whether amnesty should be given to millions of illegal immigrants.”
Moran said that the Obama administration has made the border crisis worse than it already is through its non-enforcement immigration policies like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive amnesty for approximately 800,000 young illegal aliens.
“The Administration has exacerbated this humanitarian crisis with its flawed border policies and refusal to enforce our nation’s immigration laws, and the President is about to make it even worse,” Moran said. “It is important for the future of our country that we create an immigration system that is fair, efficient, meets the needs of the American economy, and eliminates illegal activity.”
Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) told Breitbart News that he also thinks there should be a vote in the Senate on the House-passed bill.
“I strongly oppose the President’s attempts to circumvent Congress and unilaterally change our nation’s immigration laws through amnesty programs like DACA,” Shelby said in an emailed statement. “We must focus on enforcing the immigration laws currently on the books, securing our border, and ensuring that we do not reward illegal immigration. It is my hope that the Senate will expeditiously pass the House-approved bill that would block President Obama from continuing or expanding DACA.”
“We believe that we should be allowed to vote on the House-passed bill,” Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) added in an emailed statement to Breitbart News. “We need to enforce our immigration laws and secure the border.”
Before Congress broke for recess, the House passed a pair of bills dealing with the border crisis–a supplemental appropriations bill with asylum crackdowns in it, and a bill that blocks President Obama from using any taxpayer money to expand or continue DACA. In passing the bills, the House GOP united around the conservative-backed policies–despite initial efforts from GOP leadership on that side of the Capitol to avoid this fight–sparking House Democrats to lose control, culminating with an incident in which House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi chased Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) across the House floor wagging her finger at him.
This is in response to threats from President Obama, backed by Pelosi, to use an executive order to grant amnesty to millions more–perhaps as many as 10 million, or more–illegal aliens than he did through DACA.
Senate Democrats are vulnerable on this issue, especially since Reid broke for August recess without passing any bill to deal with the border crisis–and several red state Democrats up for re-election are worried about the issue affecting their re-election campaigns.
“I’m not for government by executive order,” Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), who’s facing Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) in a heated election, told Politico. “He needs to have statutory authority before he acts.”
“I don’t like government by executive order,” Pryor added, according to The Hill. “I just don’t, generally, so I’d have to look and see specifically what he’s proposing and what he’s talking about. Overall, I don’t approve of that approach.”
A spokeswoman for Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), for whom the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) just announced $9.1 million worth of planned spending in her race for re-election against North Carolina state house speaker Thom Tillis, told Politico that Hagan believes “this is a problem that needs to be solved legislatively and not through executive action.”
“I think this is a congressional issue, and I encourage Speaker [John] Boehner [R-Ohio] in the House to bring up a bill, to vote on a bill for immigration reform so that we can then put it into conference,” Hagan added, according to The Hill. “And I do support congressional action over executive action.”
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who’s facing strong opponents in both Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Col. Rob Maness, said that she thinks “the best thing” is for Congress to handle these matters, not President Obama.
“The president should take what actions he can,” Landrieu said, according to Politico. “But he is not going to be able to take too many, because there are limits to what he can do. The best thing would be for Congress to act. I’m going to leave it there.”
Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) also warned against Obama doing too much on his own, telling Politico: “We want him to be careful not to go too far.” What Begich says is an acceptable line, however, Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown and Seung Min Kim wrote, “is providing temporary legal status to all eight million undocumented immigrants who would’ve qualified under a bill passed last year in the Senate,” which is exactly what pro-amnesty forces want Obama to do.
“I’m not going to speculate,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), who’s likely to face ex-Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), who is now running in New Hampshire in November, told Politico. “Congress needs to act on the issue. Once I see what he is proposing, I will be in a better position to comment.”
Brown, who is expected to win the September GOP primary in New Hampshire, has hit Shaheen on immigration in television ads.
Sessions, arguably the intellectual leader of anti-amnesty forces in Congress, says that such rhetoric against Obama from these Democratic senators is not enough. They need to actually demand that Reid hold a Senate vote on both House-passed border crisis bills.
“The steps that must be taken are clear: the Senate must vote on the House-passed measure to stop these unlawful actions,” Sessions said in a statement provided to Breitbart News on Tuesday evening, in which he called on Americans to melt the phone lines to their senators demanding a vote on the House bills. “It is true that Majority Leader Reid is blocking it from a vote. But Reid acts only with the blessing of his members in the Democrat conference – so the American people have the power to force it to a vote through their elected senators.”
Sessions added that if Democratic senators just complain and don’t actually call for a vote in Congress’ upper chamber, they’re a part of the problem. “Any senator who fails to request such a vote is complicit in these planned actions,” Sessions said. “The American people have begged and pleaded for years for our immigration laws to be enforced. But the politicians have refused. Now these planned executive actions would nullify our laws, invite a massive new wave of unimpeded illegality, and strip the American people of their lawful right to have their jobs and their communities protected.”