House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is fear mongering against congressional Republicans’ efforts to block funding for President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty, citing the Paris terrorist attacks in an attempt to scare Americans.
“We take an oath to protect and defend the American people,” Pelosi said on the House floor on Tuesday evening, while railing against then-forthcoming GOP efforts to block funding for Obama’s executive amnesty order from November 2014 and other immigration actions he’s taken as president.
“Their safety is essential to everything else and Homeland Security is a very big place where we protect and defend the American people,” Pelosi continued.
Pelosi said she and her fellow Democrats were “disappointed” that Republicans split Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding out from the full 1,774-page $1.1 trillion “cromnibus” spending bill, and are now aiming to block funding for Obama’s executive amnesty in it. The House passed a bill aimed at doing so on Wednesday.
Pelosi pointed to the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo in Paris:
That’s why we were so disappointed that of all bills, the Republicans would pull that one bill out of the pack and say we’re just doing this for a matter of weeks. It came with the promise that after the first of the year, that of course we would pass a Homeland Security bill. That was December, in December Republicans said no we don’t want to have that certainty—not just yet. Then along came January. Paris. Je Suis Charlie, around the world it is echoed. Everybody coming together. Heads of state. Leaders of countries.
Pelosi nearly criticized President Obama in the speech—since Obama didn’t travel to Paris for a rally with world leaders last weekend—but caught herself a moment later and provided an excuse for him.
“Whether the president was there or not, everybody [is] present in the moment and the time since for protecting people throughout the world from terrorism,” Pelosi said. “It seems like that affected almost everybody, except it didn’t penetrate the walls of this chamber because here we are once again putting off by other distractions how we would pass as quickly as possible a Homeland Security bill.”
Pelosi then proceeded to—for nearly a half hour—detail why she thinks the president has the authority to grant his executive amnesty, and she cited as the Obama White House has done the executive actions that were taken by previous presidents on immigration:
What’s interesting to me is that our colleagues are using immigration—some of our colleagues are using immigration—as the excuse, but what further is interesting is now they’re saying it’s not about immigration, which of course it’s always been about—pass an immigration bill and we won’t even have to have this discussion—they’re saying it’s about the Constitution. I don’t remember, and I’ve been here since President Reagan was president, I don’t remember anybody calling up the Constitution when President Reagan used his executive authority on the family fairness executive action. I don’t remember anyone bringing up the Constitution when President George Herbert Walker Bush further expanded protections for people in our country. President Clinton and President George Herbert Walker Bush. So this is very interesting to hear that, so I do want to put this in perspective and it will take a little time. There’s a strong legal and historical precedent to support executive action—we’re just talking about deferred action here—to a broad category of people who have strong equities to our country.
Pelosi didn’t mention, though, that those executive actions were all taken to enact the will of Congress—and help the implementation of congressionally-approved directives and legislation. The executive actions taken by this president are outside the purview of Congress. Congress rejected these exact policies over the past two years, as no such legislation ever passed both chambers.
Later in the speech, Pelosi brought everything back around to her point that Republicans are somehow enabling the Paris terrorist attack:
December, [Republicans said] we’re not going to protect and defend [the United States] by extending this bill with certainty for Homeland Security. Paris, the whole world is in unity, galvanized by wanting to stop terrorism and to do everything in our power to do so. And we in this House are hesitating to do that? If we want to take up an immigration bill and argue that the president doesn’t have the authority to do what he has done—but with an intention to act ourselves—that would be the appropriate place to have this debate. When we say Je Suis Charlie, we’re not just identifying with a magazine office in Paris—that would be important enough, but we’re identifying with the entire effort to protect people from terrorism.
Pelosi also urged her colleagues to support an amnesty bill—and to block the efforts to stop Obama’s amnesty. “That’s what the Homeland Security Committee was established to do. That’s what this legislation will fund. Let’s remove all doubt that we will do it as soon as possible.”
The House as a whole rejected Pelosi’s rhetoric on Wednesday, passing all the amendments aimed at blocking Obama’s amnesty funds–for everything from the November 2014 executive amnesty to the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to the Morton Memos and other Obama policies–into the DHS funding bill, then passing the full bill through the House.
Conservatives praised House GOP leadership for fighting against Obama on this, but some Republicans did vote against the amendments blocking Obama’s immigration actions–joining with all Democrats to do so.