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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Democrats flip-flop to save Obama's amnesty



WASHINGTON – Democrats aren’t letting their own words get in the way of voting the party line in the showdown over defunding President Obama’s amnesty.

Eight Democrat senators and one independent, all of whom criticized Obama’s executive action to grant amnesty to five million illegal immigrants, have nonetheless voted to block legislation that would defund the amnesty while keeping the rest of the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, fully funded.

WND contacted each one of those senators, quoted their own words criticizing the executive action granting amnesty and then asked two questions:

  • Why won’t you now vote to defund the president’s executive action while keeping DHS fully funded?
  • Would you kindly explain how this is not choosing party politics over protecting the constitutional separation of powers?

Not one senator responded or provided any explanation for the flip-flop.

Sixty votes needed are needed for the legislation to proceed to a simple majority vote in the Senate and bypass any filibuster by Democrats.

There are 54 Republicans in the Senate, one of whom voted against the bill. So, if just seven of the nine Democrats and independent stick to their anti-amnesty guns and switch their votes, the legislation would go to the president’s desk.

Why did those senators flip-flop on amnesty when push came to shove?

One Senate Democrat aide said, “I think it’s about making clear really early that we’re not going to play along with any of these games.”

But the real reason appears to be pure politics.

Comments by Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, suggest Democrats believe obstruction of the bill will pay off because the GOP will get the blame for the bill’s failure.

“History would tell us that Republicans would get more blame,” said Cuellar, referring to the 2013 government shutdown over Obamacare. “It’s a replay of the same movie.”


Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas

That could indicate there has been arm-twisting behind the scenes by Democratic Party leadership to keep senators who have criticized amnesty from voting to defund it.

To counter that, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced he will switch tactics in an effort to flush out those senators who criticized executive amnesty but would not vote to defund it.

He now intends to bring a bill to the floor that would specifically block funding for the executive amnesty. Another bill fully funding the DHS could then be moved forward separately.

Republicans hope that Democrats who opposed Obama’s executive amnesty would then be put on the spot if they did not vote for the bill to defund it.

Here’s what those Democrats and the independent who criticized amnesty said before refusing to vote to defund it:

  • Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.: “It is clear the immigration system in this country is broken, and only Congress has the ability to change the law to fix it. … I am as frustrated as anyone that Congress is not doing its job, but the president shouldn’t make such significant policy changes on his own.”
  • Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.: “I have concerns about executive action. … This is a job for Congress.”
  • Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.: “I’m disappointed the president decided to use executive action at this time on this issue, as it could poison any hope of compromise or bipartisanship in the new Senate before it has even started. It’s Congress’ job to pass legislation and deal with issues of this magnitude.”
  • Sen. Angus King, I-Maine: “I worry that his taking unilateral action could in fact inflame public opinion, change the subject from immigration to the president. I also have constitutional concerns about where prosecutorial discretion ends and unconstitutional executive authority begins.”
  • Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V.: “I disagree with the president’s decision to use executive action to make changes to our immigration system.”
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.: “Our immigration system is broken, and I support a comprehensive plan to fix it, but executive orders aren’t the way to do it.”
  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.: “Immigration reform is a national challenge that requires a long-term, comprehensive solution by Congress.”
  • Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.: “I would prefer that Congress act.”
  • Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.: “A big issue like immigration, the best way to get a comprehensive solution is to take this through the legislative process.”

Before McConnell announced he would offer separate legislation, Sens. Heitkamp, King, Manchin and McCaskill all vowed to stick with party leadership and oppose any DHS funding bill that would defund amnesty.

“Democrat after Democrat goes to the Senate floor to give speeches about how important the Department of Homeland Security is, and yet they don’t seem to be struck by the irony that it is Democrats who are preventing the Senate from taking up funding for DHS at a time when global threats are only growing,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told National Journal last week.

“It is both reckless and irresponsible,” he added.

Follow Garth Kant @DCgarth

Democrats flip-flop to save Obama's amnesty
Garth Kant
Wed, 25 Feb 2015 00:39:46 GMT


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