On Tuesday, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) decided to allow a vote on a “clean” Homeland Security funding bill without provisions to defund President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) warned his colleagues about the dangers of caving to Obama and Democrats and hoping the courts will ultimately intervene.
Speaking on the Senate floor, Sessions blasted Republicans who are afraid the GOP will get blamed if the Homeland Security Department is shut down and said that Congress cannot and “must not fund an illegal action in hopes that another branch of government will intervene.”
He said that “Congress is a co-equal branch that is not subordinate to the president” and, because it has the power of the purse, is “not obligated to pay for anything that it believes to be unwise,” especially if it is illegal or unconstitutional. He praised the House of Representatives for acting wisely and “not allowing activities to be carried out that are unlawful.”
After a federal judge issued a temporary injunction against Obama’s executive amnesty last week, the administration temporarily halted its implementation. The Department of Justice has since asked for a stay of the injunction before it appeals the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. During that time, Democrats have blocked the House’s Homeland Security bill four times with filibusters.
Last week, Sessions told Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) that “you and your filibusterers” are blocking funding for Homeland Security after Durbin wondered out loud what was holding up the bill. And Sessions again marveled at how Democrats could “have the gall” to “blame Republicans for shutting down Homeland Security” after Democrats “relentlessly” united to filibuster it. He said it is simply “beyond me.”
Sessions said the spin that somehow “Republicans are blocking the funding of the Department of Homeland Security gives new meanings to the words “obfuscation” and “disingenuousness.” After reading headlines from multiple mainstream media outlets that blamed Democrats for blocking funding for Homeland Security, Sessions said he did not believe Americans will ultimately buy the spin coming from the White House and Democrats.
Sessions said it is actually Obama’s executive amnesty and enforcement priorities that are “eviscerating law enforcement” and “making America less safe.” Citing the complaints of federal immigration agents, Sessions blasted Democrats for accusing Republicans of making the country less safe when the government’s own immigration officers have declared that Obama’s executive amnesty is what is making the country less secure.
Sessions said that a court may well grant a stay of the injunction but Congress can still stop the executive amnesty if it adheres to its constitutional duty to defund it.
He noted that U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen declared in his opinion that an injunction was necessary because the executive amnesty genie cannot be put back in the bottle if the federal government starts to implement it and a court later rules the amnesty to be illegal or unconstitutional. Sessions pointed out that the Obama administration has been hiring thousands of agents to process Obama’s executive amnesty and noted that those agents will not be processing citizenship or visa applications but instead “processing and providing” benefits to illegal immigrants who are unlawfully in America.
He said what Obama ultimately desires “is something he can’t be given.” Sessions said Obama wants “Congress to capitulate and erode its powers and responsibilities” and “violate its duty to fund something that is illegal and contrary to Congress’s wishes.”
“He can’t demand that,” Sessions emphatically declared. “He has no right to demand that.”
Sessions noted that the House’s Homeland Security funding bill that Democrats have blocked simply declares that Congress “can’t spend money to violate the law–you can only spend the money to enforce the law.”