Vote Coming on Amnesty

Get_out_of_jail_free_1The House of Representatives is set to vote this week on legislation that will fund the Department of Homeland Security with $39.7 billion, with separate amendments that reportedly would defund aspects of the President Barack Obama’s executive action to grant amnesty to 4.5 million illegal immigrants with U.S.-born children.

The political logic of holding an up or down vote on the specific issue is simple — to force House Democrats to take a stand in favor of Obama’s usurpation of Congressional powers to set immigration policy. And to help Republicans keep their 2014 election promises to take on Obama.

Of course, the devil’s in the details.

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One amendment offered by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), and Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) states: “No funds or fees made available to the Secretary of Homeland Security, or to any other official of a Federal agency, by this Act or any other Act for any fiscal year, including any deposits into the ‘Immigration Examinations Fee Account’ established under section 286(m) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1356(m)), may be used to implement, administer, enforce, or carry out (including through the issuance of any regulations) any of the policy changes set forth in the following memoranda (or any substantially similar policy changes issued or taken on or after January 9, 2015, whether set forth in memorandum, Executive order, regulation, directive, or by other action,” including those from memoranda issued by the Secretary of Homeland Security on November 20, 2014 and by the President on November 21, 2014.

Another amendment by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) would address the President’s action to resettle tens of thousands of children and others who came across the nation’s southern border. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been relocating them via the Office of Refugee Resettlement under a part of federal law that provides for “the care of unaccompanied alien children.”

During the omnibus debate, similar amendments did not gain a floor vote, leading to 67 House Republicans opposing that bill. The move appears designed to unite the Republican conference, and should be praised for offering a chance for a fight to be had on these issues.

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But some Republican leaders are already be throwing cold water on it, signaling the Republican-led Senate will likely gut the measure.

“I know what the Senate will not do, and they will not do this bill.” Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), who sits on the Appropriations Committee was quoted saying in Roll Call on Friday before any language in the amendments had even been released.

“So, at some point we have to do a better job in the House of managing expectations,” Dent continued. “The expectations are now quite high about the bill under consideration, which will pass the House, but it will not be the final product that’s signed into law. So that’s the issue right now.”

That would be quite a betrayal, however, of what was promised to grassroots Republicans last year by House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) on December 4, when he said Senate Republicans were on the way in 2015 to help, “[T]he House will work to keep the government open while keeping our leverage, so that when we have reinforcements in the Senate, we’re in the strongest position to take additional actions to fight the President’s unilateral actions.”

If Senate Republicans were now to break Boehner’s word that the Senate would act to stop the amnesty, and instead kill the provision defunding it, there would be political hell to pay. In a recent poll by Pat Caddell, 84 percent of GOP voters and leaners said they would be less likely to support their member if he or she voted to allow the amnesty.

Funding the Department of Homeland Security without addressing the executive amnesty would likely fall into that category with party base supporters. The American Thinker’s M. Joseph Sheppard called it a “deal breaker.”

In that context, if legislation stopping the amnesty is not laid on Obama’s desk at least to be vetoed, and then hold votes to override those vetoes, the American people will rightly question whether the House and Senate did all that those bodies could to restore the separation of powers.

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Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government (ALG) News Bureau. Americans for Limited Government is a non- partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms,private property rights and core American liberties.
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