Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) unveiled legislation targeting President Obama’s most recent executive orders on immigration that does not withhold funding for the programs, after Senate Democrats once again filibustered a motion to debate the House-passed Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill.
“Some Democrats give the impression they want Congress to address the overreach,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “But when they vote, they always seem to have an excuse for supporting actions they once criticized. So I’m going to begin proceedings on targeted legislation that would only address the most recent overreach from November. It isn’t tied to DHS’ funding. It removes their excuse.”
An aide to House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) hailed the bill as a way to flush out Democrats who claim to oppose Obama’s executive amnesty but have closed ranks around the funding bill.
“This vote will highlight the irresponsible hypocrisy of any Senate Democrat who claims to oppose President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration, but refuses to vote to stop it,” said spokesman Michael Steel. “If we are going to work together on the American peoples priorities, Washington Democrats must be honest with the people they represent.”
As uncomfortable as the vote might be for some Democrats, McConnell’s gambit frustrates some conservative lawmakers who note that Obama can veto any legislation targeting the orders and then implement his programs with funding provided through a clean DHS appropriations package.
“Cave, cave, cave,” one Republican lawmaker says. “It would pass with unanimous Dem support and fractured GOP support in each house — not exactly what the base will want to see.”
“If this is where McConnell wants to go, I’m not sure why doesn’t just Rule 14 a new appropriations bill, but which only defunds the November 2014 stuff,” says a Senate aide, referring to the rule that allows the Senate majority leader to bypass the committee process and bring a bill straight to the floor. “That would create the same political problem, but actually have a path to passage.”
Another conservative Senate aide, though, maintained that Republicans can content themselves with putting red-state Senate Democrats in the position of having to defend the executive amnesty, votes that could imperil their reelection prospects.
“This is pressure,” the aide says. “This is how we get to 60 votes in the Senate.”