Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) betrayed his generally conservative voting record in voting against a bill to stop President Obama from expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program of unilateral amnesty, a move undoubtedly intended to protect his left flank in the competitive Senate race in which race he’s locked.
But now that the politics of immigration have shifted dramatically under his feet, the vote isn’t looking so smart. Case in point: arch-liberal Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), who represents the second-most liberal district in the state, has been inundated by angry constituents over the issue during the August recess, according to Reuters.
Reuters’ Gabriel Debenedetti wrote:
From border states like Texas to less likely hot spots like Oregon, Colorado, and New York, Democratic and Republican lawmakers have heard a steady stream of questions and complaints from voters – most pushing for a crackdown on illegal immigration and some worried about what they see as Washington’s inaction.
Debenedetti specifically highlights Polis’s district, ranked by the Cook Political Report as 129th most liberal in America out of 435, suggesting that the swing voters Gardner was hoping to court may be looking for something else.
“We’ve had seven town halls, and immigration is the number one issue that comes up,” Polis said in an interview with Reuters.
Debenedetti wrote, citing a local news report, that one such Polis town hall “featured constituents shouting at Polis and each other, and applauding those who contradicted him, on a range of issues, most prominently immigration.”
The Reuters report quotes powerful GOP members like National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)–a potential successor to Speaker John Boehner–who have noted how powerful the immigration issue is, as well as the unpopularity of President Obama’s planned executive amnesty for millions of illegal aliens.
“The anger is palpable,” Hensarling told Reuters, adding that “there’s a lot of fear about that, about a president who has a pen and a phone, but doesn’t seem to have a copy of the Constitution.”
“I hear it everywhere I go,” Walden added about national anger at Obama’s immigration policies, saying also that “it’s morphed into something bigger than a debate over fixing our broken immigration system–it’s a piece of the overall sense that things are on the wrong track in this country.”
Gardner is one of a handful of Republicans outside the mainstream of the party who voted against a House bill that defunds DACA, blocking the President from continuing or expanding the executive amnesty program that has already legalized just under a million illegal alien minors. The House bill, which passed right before August recess after initial reluctance from House GOP leadership, blocks the President from using taxpayer money to continue or expand DACA to millions more illegal aliens under broader categories than just DREAMers, which is something Obama has said he is planning to do.
A handful of Democrats joined almost every Republican in Congress to vote for the bill when it came up that Friday night before the House broke for recess–after the House was held an extra day due to original disagreements among Republicans.
Gardner and 11 other Republicans–Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Jeff Denham (R-CA), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), David Reichert (R-WA), David Valadao (R-CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Joe Heck (R-NV), Fred Upton (R-MI), Mark Amodei (R-NV), and Mike Coffman (R-CO)–joined almost every Democrat to vote against the measure, which passed the House 216-192.
Gardner’s vote on the crucial bill could undermine any would-be attacks on Democrats over the issue that are proving effective in New Hampshire and elsewhere.