The Corner

Tom Cotton: Break the Capitol Phone Switchboard to Fight Obama’s Amnesty

Senator-elect Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) tried to jumpstart a phone-banking campaign against the funding measure that House leadership is expected put on the floor next week, saying that lawmakers might change course of voters break the Capitol switchboard.

“In 2007, there were reports that the Capitol switch board actually stopped working because so many people called, and asked their senators and congressmen to stop an amnesty bill going through at the time, and it stopped,” Cotton told Laura Ingraham on Friday. ”And it helped in 2013 when the House was on the verge of considering something like the Gang of Eight bill in the Senate, so I would encourage you to call your senator, call your congressman next week and in the new year.” 

Cotton wants the House to pass a bill in the lame-duck session that bars President Obama from using any federal funding to implement his recent executive orders on immigration.

“Congress needs to take action using the strongest power that we have which is the spending power under the Constitution to stop President Obama’s unlawful amnesty decree,” Cotton said. “Pass a short-term funding measure, try to defund these measures now, put the Senate Democrats on record, and then simply fund the government in the new year . . . then we can take action to defund the specific executive overreaches.”

That is, effectively, the alternative that Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah) outlined earlier this week and that Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas), and Senator David Vitter (R., La.) want the House to pass.

The House is expected to pass a CRomnibus bill that funds most executive departments for a year but leaves the Department of Homeland Security  on a short-term continuing resolution, but Cotton dislikes that idea because it would limit congressional power to withhold funding for executive overreaches unrelated to immigration.

Rank-and-file Republicans in the House and Senate have been talking about such a proposal since before Thanksgiving, but party leadership maintains that outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) would never allow such a proposal to come to a vote, and that the House does not have the time to execute the two-step process Cotton described.

Cotton suggested that that leadership might change their minds if they get enough phone calls from voters. “I assure you having been in the Congress that congressman and senators listen when the people they serve, their bosses, are calling them and asking them to vote in a certain way. I can assure you, and it’s been the case on immigration before,” he said.


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