DAPHNE, AL – An emphatic Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is dismissing the claim that presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was a backer of the 2013 immigration reform effort by the so-called “Gang of Eight.”
Sessions, a hometown favorite at a Saturday rally here, told attendees Cruz had opposed the effort the entire way and cited the Texas senator’s voting record as evidence.
“One of the things you’ve been hearing about somehow is a criticism of Ted and how he and what he did with regard to this massive that they tried to ram through in 2013,” Sessions said. “Let me tell you, I was there. Every step of the way, Ted Cruz was on my side and fought this legislation all the way through.”
“I’m just flabbergasted,” he continued.
Don’t they know how he voted? So let just tell you a few things just to recall – people need to remember this because this election is going to decide if the crowd that pushed that bill — are they in the White House and will they be able to continue their agenda? Or will somebody else be there who will say no?
Sessions went on to recall the 2007 immigration reform legislation effort by the Senate, noting there was a preliminary vote that received 60 votes that was reduced to 46 votes on the final vote after what he described as “millions of Americans” lit up the Capitol Hill switchboard in protest of the legislation.
“The people spoke and the Congress finally – although it was dicey for a while – responded,” he added.
Sessions likened the 2007 push to the 2013 “Gang of Eight” bill and pointed out the exhaustive resources the “Gang of Eight” had at its disposal.
“Here in 2013, the same group again – they spent a billion-and-a-half dollars to promote this legislation,” Sessions said.
They hired political consultants. They pollsters hired and polling to try to spin the numbers anyway possible to advance this agenda. They had special interest groups. They met for months – the ‘Gang of Eight.’ And they were determined – they were going to move this bill to passage. And it was a near-run thing. It was a worse bill everybody would acknowledge that is fair about it than the 2007 bill.
According to Alabama’s junior senator, the bill would have granted amnesty first before implementing other aspects, some of which (including a border fence) were already law. In addition to that, he questioned the committee process of the 2013 bill, which did not allow for the passage of any amendments since what Sessions described to be a “delicate balance” had been negotiated through a backroom deal.
The 2013 “Gang of Eight” bill never gained traction in the House of Representatives after passage in the Senate, to which Sessions credited Cruz’s opposition.
“I think I can say this with integrity and good judgement: I believe without the vigorous opposition of Ted Cruz, this bill likely would have passed,” Sessions said. “So we need to thank him.”
“Ted Cruz was with me,” he added. “Steve King and Mike Lee and others who opposed this bill and don’t let anybody tell you any differently. And it was critical to the success we had.”
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