Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said congressional Republicans in the House and the Senate should use “any and all means necessary” to stop President Barack Obama from granting an executive amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, which he said may include language to block the president from doing so in a stop-gap spending bill that could come to the House floor as soon as Thursday.
“I think we should use any and all means necessary to prevent the president from illegally granting amnesty,” Cruz said when asked at a Tuesday press conference if he’d support including a measure that the House of Representatives passed–a bill from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), a companion to his Senate version of the bill–right before August recess. “That, certainly, I think would be appropriate to include [in] the CR, but I think we should use every tool at our disposal.”
“Let’s wait and see what’s in the CR,” Cruz added when asked if he’d oppose the CR if it didn’t include his anti-DACA bill. “I have a habit of actually seeing what’s in legislation before I make a decision of whether or not to support it or not support it.”
This could set up a massive showdown in Washington in September, where some Republicans and all Democrats just want to pass a clean government funding bill and get out of town before the midterm elections. But if Cruz and the others at his side–like Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), and Reps. Blackburn, Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Roger Williams (R-TX), Pete Olson (R-TX), John Carter (R-TX), Mo Brooks (R-AL) and others–make this a hill to die on, Washington could be headed for brinksmanship in which the Democrats would accuse Republicans of wanting to shut the government down.
“This week is a study in contrast in Washington,” Cruz said at the press conference. He continued:
The House of Representatives and House Republicans are standing up and leading, providing strong, principled leadership to address the crises facing this nation. And in the Senate, Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats have presided over a do-nothing Senate. Our country is facing a crisis at the border. This year 90,000 unaccompanied children are expected to cross illegally into this country. The president has rightly noted this is a humanitarian crisis, but it’s a crisis of his own creation. The direct cause of this crisis is President Obama’s lawlessness. We cannot solve the crisis at the border until we end President Obama’s amnesty. The Border Patrol interviewed some 200 people who had come recently illegally, many of them children, and asked them a simple question: Why did you come? Just a few years ago, in 2011, there were only 6,000 kids coming. Now, it’s 90,000. What changed? Ninety-five percent of those interviewed by the Border Patrol said ‘we’re coming because we believe we’ll get amnesty. We believe we’ll get a permiso that allows us to stay.’
Cruz said the only way to “solve the crisis at the border” is to “end the promise of amnesty” that is serving as a magnet for the children and others to come here illegally, “and causing these little boys and little girls to be victimized, to be physically assaulted and sexually assaulted by violent drug cartels and coyotes who are bringing them into this country.” He went on:
President Obama just this weekend announced to the country that it is his intention to unilaterally grant amnesty to millions more who are here illegally. But he said with a cynicism that even in Washington is notable, he said he understands that the American people don’t like that policy, so he’s going to helpfully wait until after the election to violate the law and illegally grant an amnesty. President Obama has decided this election will be a referendum on amnesty. In the Senate I was proud to introduce legislation to put into law–to make it unequivocal–that the president has no power to prospectively grant amnesty. The House of Representatives stood up and led. Rep. Marsha Blackburn filed companion legislation to that and the House stayed in session and passed legislation to address the crisis at the border, to take amnesty off the table, to end the promise of amnesty.
Cruz accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is refusing to allow a vote in the Senate on the House-passed border crisis bills, of sowing the seeds of Washington “dysfunction.” He said:
Sadly, on this side of Capitol Hill, Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats refuse to allow the Senate to vote on legislation making clear the president has no authority to grant amnesty. Indeed, Harry Reid dismissed the Senate and sent senators home for August after doing nothing to address the crisis at the border. All of our friends here in the media like to write about dysfunction in Washington. The facts are clear: One body is functioning, one body is leading. The House of Representatives stayed here and did its work, passed legislation to take amnesty off the table, and the only reason it hasn’t passed into law is that Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats refuse to vote on it–which means when the president tries to unilaterally grant amnesty, as he promised to do so, this year at the end of the year right after the election, every Senate Democrat who stood with Harry Reid against allowing a vote on this legislation, every single Senate Democrat bears the responsibility for the president’s illegal amnesty.
Cruz went on to say he thinks President Obama thinks the American people are stupid:
As much as the decision to delay the amnesty until after the election is an attempt to avoid Democratic accountability, borne frankly of not thinking too highly of the American people–thinking that the American people can’t figure that out–well I got to tell you, I think the American people are a lot smarter than the president seems to give them credit for. Amnesty ensures that tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of little boys and little girls will continue to be victimized, to be physically abused, to be sexually abused. Amnesty is not compassionate, it is not humane, it is exacerbating a crisis at the border; it is lawless and it is wrong. The House of Representatives has stood up and led, and we are here today asking for one very simple thing, which is for Harry Reid to allow the Senate to do its job–to actually show up and schedule a vote and let Senators go on record whether or not they support amnesty. If Senators support amnesty for those who are here illegally, let them look in the eyes of their constituents before election day and say this is what I support, let me know if you agree or not.