There was high drama on the Senate floor this evening. Harry Reid brought on for a vote President Obama’s $2.7 billion proposal to support illegals from Central America who are flooding across the border, in the form of a supplemental budget request. An extremely knowledgeable Senate insider offers this blow-by-blow account of what happened:
Harry Reid filled the amendment tree on the supplemental, meaning no amendments can get votes. Sessions offered a motion to table the filled tree with stated purpose of making room to get a vote on the Cruz amendment.
“Filling the tree” has been Reid’s preferred strategy for years. It effectively shuts all Republicans out of the legislative process, while insulating Democrats from having to vote against popular proposals. No prior Senate Majority Leader has used this tactic with anything like Reid’s consistency. The Cruz amendment would have barred President Obama from granting illegal executive amnesty as he has repeatedly threatened to do.
So – and this is critical – a vote against waiving the tree is THE vote on whether you support allowing the president to issue an administrative amnesty. Sessions’ motion to table failed by a vote of 43 yeas and 52 nays, with all Republicans supporting Sen. Sessions.
This was Sessions’ effort to block Obama from issuing an unconstitutional amnesty to 5 to 6 million illegal immigrants, as he has promised activists he will do.
The only Dem Senator to vote with Republicans to try and prohibit the President’s illegal issuance of work permits to 5-6 million illegal aliens was Senator Manchin. Even the Senate Democrats who claimed to oppose the executive actions (such as Senator Pryor), voted with Reid, Durbin and Schumer to block Sessions’ motion and thereby support the President’s action. Embattled Senator Landrieu initially voted with Sessions, then later switched her vote to ‘no.’ I’m not positive yet, but I believe some other vulnerable Democratic senators may have conveniently not voted.
The voters won’t forget in November. Senator Sessions delivered a ringing defense of American workers, in opposition to Obama’s planned amnesty:
[This executive action would come] at a time when millions of Americans are out of work. President Obama’s plan is a direct affront to every single unemployed American—particularly those in our poorest most vulnerable American communities. Who will speak for them? Who will give them a voice? Will this Congress? Will we hear their pleas?
The President’s planned work permits for illegal immigrants is in addition, then, to this already huge flow of low-wage labor into the United States…. Isn’t it time we did something for American workers? Isn’t it time, after forty years of lawless borders and open immigration, we looked out for them?
Sessions lost the vote to hear the Cruz amendment, as the Democrats want to preserve the option of lawlessness. But he wasn’t done:
Just now, Sessions raised a budget point of order against the Senate supplemental.
The point of order was based on the fact that the $2.7 billion was entirely borrowed money. There were no offsetting spending cuts or tax increases, as required by current pay-as-you-go laws.
It required 60 votes to waive that point of order. After failing to table the filled amendment tree, Sessions raised the point of order. Appropriations Committee Chair Mikulski, author of the legislation, moved to waive all points of order on the bill. Dems failed to waive the point of order, by a vote of 50 yeas and 44 nays, with Manchin again voting with Republicans.
So the Senate immigration supplemental appropriations bill is dead.
This is very good news, although of course it would be better news if Congress would stand up to the president’s lawless and unconstitutional determination to repeal federal statutes by executive decree. For now, though, let’s be grateful, once again, to Senator Jeff Sessions, who stood in the gap and, this time, prevailed.