UPDATE 9:20 p.m.: The vote is coming soon. Senators are currently voting on cloture for the cromnibus. But a congressional GOP aide told Breitbart News that Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) is whipping votes in favor of President Obama’s executive amnesty and against Cruz’s point of order measure.
UPDATE 8:30 p.m.: Sources on Capitol Hill have informed Breitbart News that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has won his battle with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Reid has relented and agreed to allow a vote on his measure that aims to get U.S. Senators on record as to whether they believe the president’s executive amnesty is legal.
The vote is scheduled to happen any time now this evening, somewhere right before or right after 9 p.m. ET. Conservative commentator Mark Levin has urged his listeners to light up Capitol Hill switchboards by dialing 1-202-224-3121. Developing…
Several Republican senators are publicly griping about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s move to keep Senators in town for a rare Saturday session. But instead of blaming Reid, they’re blaming conservative Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT).
“I think this is ridiculous,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who had already returned to New Hampshire with plans to “to see The Nutcracker with her daughter this weekend,” told Politico.
Ayotte is up for re-election this cycle in New Hampshire, a state where Republican Scott Brown nearly beat incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) by running heavily on an anti-amnesty message. Brown didn’t seize the populist anti-amnesty message until late in the campaign, but it helped him close a wide gap in the final weeks of the campaign.
Ayotte voted for the Senate “Gang of Eight” immigration bill that Brown hammered on the campaign trail—noting that it would hurt American workers—and she hasn’t expressed regret for doing so. She did, however, come out swinging against a move by now outgoing Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to cut pensions for veterans while still allowing illegal aliens illicit access to tax credits. Ayotte’s immigration position could put her at risk for a challenge from the right in a primary from someone—perhaps even Brown.
It’s notable that the reason Reid kept senators in town this weekend is because he would not allow a vote on a constitutional point of order from Cruz questioning the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty, or an amendment from Lee to the CRomnibus bill that passed the House that would block funding for Obama’s executive amnesty action.
Cruz’s and Lee’s procedural warfare has paid off, however, as they’ve now won and will soon force Senators to vote on whether they support or oppose executive amnesty. It’s unclear at this time when the vote will be, but major conservative organizations including Tea Party Patriots, Heritage Action, and NumbersUSA are scoring any vote against Cruz’s forthcoming point of order as a vote for amnesty for illegal aliens.
NumbersUSA said in a statement sent to all senators:
NumbersUSA will score a vote for the Cruz Point of Order on the constitutionality of the executive amnesty as a vote to stop this unlawful amnesty, and we will score a vote against the Point of Order as a vote for amnesty. The President of the United States does not have the authority to make, ignore, or alter Federal law, and yet that is exactly what President Obama has done with his unlawful amnesty. It is incumbent upon Congress to stand up for the Constitution and for American workers.
The CROmnibus funds an unconstitutional executive usurpation of legislative power. Every United States Senator should be outraged and should support the Cruz Point of Order. A ‘no’ vote on the Cruz point of order is a vote for unconstitutional amnesty.
Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham says voting against Cruz’s measure is voting for Obama’s executive amnesty. Needham said:
If Senators are opposed to President Obama’s executive action on immigration, they should vote in favor of Sen. Cruz’s constitutional point of order. A vote against the point of order is a vote in favor of unchecked presidential power and granting work permits and Social Security numbers to people who are in the country illegally. Heritage Action urges all Senators to vote yes.
“Just when you may have thought the fight over the CRomnibus was over, Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Jeff Sessions are doing their best to hold their colleagues accountable in the Senate,” Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin blasted in a list to the organization’s grassroots activists nationwide. She went on to say:
We strongly support their efforts as they fight to ensure that the Congress does not appropriate funds for an unlawful, unconstitutional order. We urge their colleagues to join them in that fight. This is not a fight about amnesty; this is a fight over whether or not America will remain a Constitutional Republic. Please find your Senators on Facebook and Twitter and express your support for Sens. Cruz, Lee, and Sessions and their fight for liberty this weekend. Please be prepared to make phone calls to the Senate first thing Monday morning.
True The Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht added that senators who end up supporting Obama’s executive amnesty by opposing Cruz will be, in effect, supporting voter fraud that will happen nationwide as a result of the Obama executive amnesty. Engelbrecht said:
Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty edict opens a fast track to vote fraud by intentionally overwhelming our already unstable election procedures, ensuring process failures that will skew American elections for generations to come. States are not prepared to deal with the coming influx of illegal aliens wanting social service programs including Medicaid, food stamps, welfare, taxpayer-funded credits and, of course, drivers’ licenses. These programs are run independently and have few, if any, firewalls to ensure that non-citizens don’t end up as registered voters. The 2014 election cycle showed us clear, repeated evidences of state limitations in segmenting data pools – case in point, North Carolina, where non-citizens were registered to vote while receiving drivers’ licenses.
Englebrecht thanked Sens. Cruz, Lee, and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for standing up to fight Obama’s amnesty.
“The co-mingling of citizens and non-citizens into databases with limited capacity for secure segmentation will result in non-citizens voting. Count on it,” Engelbrecht said. “Thank God we have representatives like Senators Cruz, Lee, and Sessions, who have the courage to stand up against Obama’s order of amnesty and protect the constitutional rights of the American voter.”
New Hampshire’s Ayotte is hardly the only Republican upset about this fight.
“The answer is no,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) told Politico when he was asked if what Cruz and Lee are doing is effective. Hatch was re-elected in 2012 despite a strong primary challenger from the right, and is up for re-election again in 2018. Hatch, like Ayotte, voted for the Gang of Eight amnesty bill.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a liberal Republican who also voted for the Gang of Eight bill, personally accosted Cruz on the Senate floor, according to Politico. “In the meantime, you are going to make everybody miserable,” Collins “sternly” told Cruz, Politico wrote, before turning to Hatch as she walked away from him to say: “I tried.”
When she came off the Senate floor, Collins lambasted her fellow Republican Cruz in comments to reporters.
“I’m not happy with the strategy that [Cruz] has come up with,” Collins told reporters. “I think it’s counterproductive and will have the end result of causing nominees who I think are not well qualified to be confirmed. So I don’t understand the approach that he is taking. I think it’s very unfortunate and counterproductive.”
Collins was re-elected to the U.S. Senate in this year’s elections, in a seat in which she’s served since first winning election in 1996.
While Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) didn’t vote for the Gang of Eight amnesty bill like many of the other Republicans who are now lambasting Cruz and Lee, he did criticize them.
“I don’t know what the strategy is,” Isakson, who had to cancel a flight back home to Atlanta he had scheduled for Saturday morning, told Politico.
Isakson is up for re-election this cycle, and conservatives will likely support a serious primary challenger to him. When he announced he’s running for re-election, Conservative Review senior editor Daniel Horowitz issued a statement ripping him:
Sen. Isakson is not a conservative. Like many in Congress who campaign on conservative talking points, or make politically expedient statements, there are things Isakson may point to in an effort to say that he is conservative, but his record tells a drastically different story. Conservative Review exists specifically for this reason – to make sure the American people can easily investigate who they want to represent them in Congress as well as compare what they’ve promised to what they have actually done. Isakson can say he is conservative all he wants, but he isn’t and his Liberty Score shows that.
There is also, of course, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who is working to undermine Cruz and Lee. Flake supports amnesty for illegal aliens, and was one of the original members of the Senate Gang of Eight.
“I don’t see how conservative ends are achieved,” Flake told Politico, of what Cruz and Lee are doing. “I think it’s counterproductive. Some of the nominations that we had issues with, like the surgeon general, were not going to move forward. Now they’re going to move forward.”
Flake’s claim that some of these nominees were not going to move forward before Reid kept the Senate in town as a result of Cruz’s and Lee’s efforts to have a Senate vote on stopping Obama’s executive amnesty is questionable. Sources across Capitol Hill told Breitbart News that Reid had been planning on moving these nominees through before Christmas—and before he loses control as Senate Majority Leader—anyway, this week.
“Reid would have filed cloture on all of these nominees on Monday night after passage of the CRomnibus,” one senior Senate GOP aide told Breitbart News. “They would have been confirmed on Wednesday or Thursday.”
Flake was first elected to the Senate in 2012, and doesn’t come up for re-election until 2018.