House conservatives are calling on their counterparts in the Senate to finish the job of defunding President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty and pushing back against the administration’s policies.
“I think it is high time that Mitch McConnell stand up and say, ‘This is what I’m fighting for here in the Senate.’ That’s definitely what he said during his campaign, so let’s make sure that he does it now as the majority leader,” Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID) told reporters Wednesday during this month’s meeting of “Conversations with Conservatives.”
“But it’s also high time that Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and others decide that they are going to start to fight in the Senate, using the Senate procedural rules, and not just looking at the House as the place were the fights are going to happen. They also have the responsibility in the Senate to make sure those bills pass,” Labrador continued.
Last week the House passed a Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill that aims to defund Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
While the legislation has passed the House, the White House is already threatening to veto the bill and few expect that the effort has the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate. With funding DHS set to expire on February 27, conservative House members Wednesday stressed that the Senate must finish what the House passed last week.
“There is no way to avoid what is coming on the 27th,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said. “We had better stand firm. The American people know it. The Republican voters know it.”
“We’ve got to stay focused on the issue. What the president did was wrong. He said it was wrong 22 times,” he added.
Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), like Labrador, directed his words to conservatives in the Senate who have pushed for the House to act.
“I’m not going to name anybody, but I’m going to speak to our conservative counterparts on the Senate side who have said time and time again, ‘You in the House need to do this. You in the House need to do that.’ Well you know what? Now it’s in the Senate and they have an opportunity to shine and do their job,” the Arizona lawmaker said.
He recalled Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) filibuster over the use of drones, and argued that is the kind of leadership he would like to see now on immigration.
“We’re looking for that kind of leadership on this issue in the Senate. Instead of just saying, ‘well the House is the wall of last defense,’” Salmon continued. “That’s a cop out. It’s time for us all to be doing everything that we possibly can to force the president to do things in a Constitutional way and it’s not just the job of the House, it’s the job of the Senate too. One person over there can bottle up the whole place I’m interested to see how they do it.”
In the coming days the House is expected to vote on a border security bill — one that’s already facing criticism from immigration hawks — offered by House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX). Labrador warned that defunding Obama’s executive action should be separate from future immigration efforts such as the McCaul border bill.
“We should deal with that unconstitutional action as a separate matter. The McCaul bill is prospective. What are we going to do in the future to fix our broken border/immigration system. The moment that we bring them together, join them together, we lose the argument,” he said.
The Idaho Republican pointed to a recent Politico article indicating that leadership is considering other options to combat Obama’s executive amnesty, outside of the legislation to defund the actions, as indicative that Republicans are already conceded defeat.
“That is why we always lose, when you send the message that you are not willing to fight,” Labrador said.
Last year the message was: We cannot get our way because we don’t have a Senate. Now this year this year is: We cannot get our way because we only have 54 votes. Well if that is going to be the attitude from the Senate then we’re not going to win any battles. We might as well tell Harry Reid he can continue to lead the Senate because we were not able to get 60 votes in the Senate. That’s not leadership. That’s not what the American people are expecting from us that’s not why they voted for a Senate majority.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) added the the message is not complicated, that conservatives just want to see the GOP take up that fight against Obama’s policies.
“What we’re looking for from the Senate and the House leadership and all of the above is simply, it’s pretty simple: Just do what you promised you were going to do,” he said. “They didn’t promise we were going to cop out. You know plan B always seems to be not taking on this president.”
Cruz spokesman Catherine Frazier assured Breitbart News in a statement that Cruz remains focused on halting Obama’s executive amnesty.
“Absolutely the Senate should act, and swiftly, to stop President Obama’s illegal amnesty,” she emailed Thursday. “Sen. Cruz remains committed to that effort and ensuring that Republicans keep the promises they made Americans last year.”