Two senators from very different wings of the Republican Party united to outline how the GOP might counter a Democratic filibuster of the House bill that denies funding for President Obama’s immigration executive orders.
Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Senator Susan Collins (R., Maine) argued during a Senate GOP lunch that if Democrats filibuster the Department of Homeland Security funding bill — which blocks implementation of Obama’s 2012 deferred action program and his November 2014 “adult amnesty” — Republicans should respond by blocking only the 2014 orders. The thinking, according to a GOP senator who was in the lunch, is that Senate Democrats will have a harder time staying unified for a filibuster if Republicans have a narrower focus.
“What I have said for months now is the central focus of Republicans should be stopping President Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty,” Cruz told National Review Online when asked to confirm the details of his case. “That’s what Republican candidates promised the voters in November and that’s the promise we need to fulfill.”
Collins does not share Cruz’s antipathy for the 2012 program, but she told reporters that the 2014 orders are obviously unconstitutional.
“The 2014 order is not even a close call,” she said. “It is so broad in its reach that the president himself said, more than 20 times, that he didn’t have the authority to take the kind of action that is included in the 2014 order.”
Cruz also faulted Senate Democrats for refusing even to debate the issue. “It would be a real mistake if Democrats choose this afternoon to filibuster funding for the Department of Homeland Security,” he says. “At a time when we face grave national security threats, it is the height of irresponsibility for Democrats to filibuster and try to kill funding for DHS.”
Update: Senate Democrats filibustered a motion to proceed to a debate on the DHS bill, 51-48.