Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are calling on Senate Democrats to break their filibuster of a Department of Homeland Security spending bill.
Senators from the Senate Steering Committee and congressmen from the Republican Study Committee argued Thursday that Senate Democrats are obstructing the process and must allow debate on the DHS funding bill that also blocks President Obama’s executive amnesty.
“Senate Democrats, do your job. Uphold the oath that you took to defend the constitution and to protect our Article I power,” RSC Chairman Bill Flores (R-TX) said at a joint press conference with Senate Steering.
Lawmakers explained that Democrats will have ample opportunity to amend the bill once they allow it to get to the floor.
“The way to change what they don’t like in the bill is to bring it up to allow us to get on the bill so that they can amend it and this they have refused to do,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), the Chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, said.
“There is therefore no reason, other than bold faced obstruction for the Senate Democrats to prevent us from getting on this bill. Look: American national security demands that we keep this department funded. American national security demands that we get on this bill. We need to do it and I call on my Senate Democratic colleagues to stop their obstruction right now and get on this bill,” he added.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) was optimistic about the prospect of eventually achieving Republican DHS funding goals.
“I believe we’ll prevail. I believe that the American people are not going to allow their Congress to say one thing during campaign season and do another in Congress,” Sessions said.
“[The House] is exactly right, the ball is in the Senate’s court,” he added. “And the Democratic leadership is going to have to answer for the blocking of the Homeland Security that they are undertaking right now.”
Rep. John Carter (R-TX), the Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations, offered up an analogy, placing him and his appropriations bill in the crosshairs.
“In bacon and eggs the hen is involved but the pig is committed. Well the truth is I’m the pig. This is my bill. We took this bill through regular order in the House, we conferenced with the staff in the Senate we made the changes that everybody agreed to and we put out a great Homeland Security bill to protect the national security of this nation,” he said.
Carter argued that it was President Obama’s executive amnesty that threw a wrench into the proceedings.
“The president dropped his November surprise after Election Day and I didn’t hear anybody anywhere in the country campaign in favor of executive amnesty before Election Day,” Carter said. “He dropped it after Election Day and stepped all over the Constitution and that is the reason we have a challenge to Homeland Security.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) highlighted the political hypocrisy on the part of some Senate Democrats who voiced opposition to president Obama’s executive amnesty but continue to stand against bringing the bill to the floor.
“I would note that seven senate Democrats around election time told the voters they oppose President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty,” Cruz said. “I would suggest to each of you in the fourth estate another question that would be entirely appropriate to ask them, were you telling the truth or were you lying when you said you opposed the president’s unconstitutional executive amnesty. Because if you were telling the truth, why then are you filibustering DHS funding, why are you blocking consideration of legislation to do what you said you agreed with. They cannot have it both ways.”
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) explained another theory about the motives behind the Democratic filibuster.
“I think there is an absolutely perfect reason for the Senate Democrats to deny debate on this particular bill. In the event of a lapse of funding executive amnesty will happen,” Mulvaney said. “The President does not need this funding in order to implement executive amnesty. So if the Senate Democrats are successful in denying funding to DHS they will get what the president wants,” he said, going on to suggest a change to the filibuster rules.”