Keeping Focused on Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration

To:             Interested Parties
From:       Heritage Action for America
Date:         January 27, 2015
Subject:   Keeping Focused on Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration

Lawmakers have one month to pass a discretionary funding measure for the Department of Homeland Security that denies funding and resources for President Obama’s amnesty programs. Although the House-passed DHS appropriations bill (H.R. 240) 1 has yet to be considered in the Senate, Politico reported some Republicans were already “exploring ways of escaping their political jam on immigration, with steps that could avoid a funding cutoff for the Department of Homeland Security while letting conservatives vent their anger at President Barack Obama.”  Such actions are premature, as Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) explained to the Washington Examiner:

“You usually don’t know for sure where these fights wind up until you have them. And this is an important one for us to have. We need to have this fight, and then we’ll see where it goes.”

Win the Fight
Some may be tempted to point to vote counts in the Senate and claim that there is a need for compromise legislation. Senator Blunt’s comments bear repeating: You usually don’t know for sure where these fights wind up until you have them.

Voters demanded more than merely a fight in November; they voted to stop the President’s reckless overreach. Forcing debate the issue through votes is just the first step. If Republicans are to deliver on their mandate, they must make the case for immediate action and force the President and his allies to defend these dangerous, unlawful policies.

At least five sitting Senate Democrats have expressed opposition to President Obama’s latest executive actions, which would grant quasi-legal status, work permits and Social Security numbers to those who are in the country illegally.

  • Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN): “It is clear the immigration system in this country is broken, and only Congress has the ability to change the law to fix it…I am as frustrated as anyone that Congress is not doing its job, but the president shouldn’t make such significant policy changes on his own.” (“Donnelly sees
    Obama immigration move as too much,” The Courier-Journal, 11/20/14, http://cjky.it/14T2SW9)
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO): “Our immigration system is broken, and I support a comprehensive plan to fix it, but executive orders aren’t the way to do it.” (“Local Lawmakers Oppose Obama’s Immigration Action,” KOLR10 News, 11/20/14, http://bit.ly/1FHJdUy)
  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): “I disagree with the President’s decision to use executive action to make changes to our immigration system, and I disagree with the House’s decision to not even take a vote on the bipartisan Senate legislation that overwhelmingly passed in June 2013.” (“Obama announces immigration plan; WV reps react,” MetroNews, 11/20/14, http://bit.ly/1vbQOcM)
  • Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND): “I’m disappointed the president decided to use executive action at this time on this issue, as it could poison any hope of compromise or bipartisanship in the new Senate before it has even started. It’s Congress’ job to pass legislation and deal with issues of this magnitude.” (“Obama fails to convince some Dems on immigration,” Politico, 11/20/14, http://politi.co/1yCcJdJ)
  • Sen. Angus King (I-ME): “I worry that his taking unilateral action could in fact inflame public opinion, change the subject from immigration to the president. I also have constitutional concerns about where prosecutorial discretion ends and unconstitutional executive authority begins.” (“GOP leaders warn ‘impeachment’ is a dirty word,” Politico, 11/19/14, http://politi.co/1F0YPlI)

Two more expressed concern before the announcement:

  • Sen. Al Franken (D-MN): “‘I have concerns about executive action,’ said Franken, who had previously declined to comment, in a statement Thursday. ‘This is a job for Congress, and it’s time for the House to act.’” (“Senate Democrats Urge President Obama To Delay Immigration Order,” Politico, 9/5/14, http://politi.co/1pwyMtR)
  • Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA): “A big issue like immigration, the best way to get a comprehensive solution is to take this through the legislative process.” (“Warner: ‘Right decision’ to delay on immigration,” The Hill, 09/08/14, http://bit.ly/1tvyVRt)

Read the entire memo.

 

Read More

Tweaking Dodd-Frank Opens GOP to Charges of Favoritism

Last week, the House passed the Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act (H.R. 37).  The bill, essentially a package of previous House bills that had garnered strong bipartisan support, makes several small financial regulatory improvements.  But this short-term strategy – making small tweaks to the existing regulatory framework – may not be the best approach for fixing what’s wrong with U.S. financial regulations.

The real problem is not, for instance, whether the Volcker rule requires banks to divest certain types of assets in 2015 or 2019.  The real problem is the Volcker rule itself and, more broadly, the whole mass of regulations impacted by the Dodd-Frank Act.

Read More

Obama’s Amnesty: How They Voted vs. What They Said

Saturday night, the Senate voted on a constitutional point of order raised by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 94%.  Heritage Action’s chief executive officer Michael A. Needham explained the vote this way:

“If Senators are opposed to President Obama’s executive action on immigration, they should vote in favor of Sen. Cruz’s constitutional point of order.  A vote against the point of order is a vote in favor of unchecked presidential power and granting work permits and Social Security numbers to people who are in the country illegally.”

While 22 Republican Senators voted to uphold the constitutional point of order, 20 Republican Senators joined with 54 Democrats in voting against the point of order.  Three Republicans and one Democrat did not vote.

The sharply divided vote came as a surprise.  Though some Republican Senators are pro-amnesty, they have all spoken out against President Obama for overstepping his constitutional authority, including those that voted against the point of order.   Their statements, made just three weeks ago, are below. 

Read More

Obama, Republican Leaders Push Cromnibus Forward

Moments ago, the Republican-controlled House passed the cromnibus after very aggressive whipping from President Obama and the White House staff. Heritage Action key voted against the 1,700+ page bill because it amounts to a blank check for Obama’s amnesty.

This morning, the bill’s defeat was seen as likely when the rule to debate the bill passed by just two votes after significant arm-twisting from top Republicans.  According to National Review, “House leadership promised to pull the CRomnibus and replace it with a short-term continuing resolution that would push the entire funding debate into next year.”

Pushing the debate into the early next year would have set the stage for a significant fight to stop the President’s unlawful amnesty.  Instead, House GOP leaders worked with President Obama to fund his executive amnesty.

Conservative lawmakers are livid, and for good reason.

The Washington Establishment is desperately hoping voters and lawmakers will forget about today’s ugliness, but the deception and shenanigans are different this time.  This legislation funds President Obama’s unilateral, unlawful actions, which include granting quasi-legal status, work permits and Social Security numbers to those who are in the country illegally.

See the House vote on our Scorecard:

Scorecard: Cromnibus Vote

Read More

Heritage Action to Key Vote Blank Check for Amnesty

Next week, the Republican-controlled House is planning to vote on a government spending bill.  The so-called cromnibus, as currently described, would not block the implementation of President Obama’s recently announced changes to our nation’s immigration laws.  Those changes include granting quasi-legal status, work permits and Social Security numbers to those who are in the country illegally.  Heritage Action will key vote against the bill unless it contains legislative language that stops the implementation of the President’s unlawful amnesty program.  As Heritage Action’s chief executive officer Michael A. Needham said earlier this week, “The fight is now, not next year.  Americans expect real action, not a show vote.”

Additionally, Heritage Action will not score in favor of the bill (H.R. 5759) offered by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) 83% because it is purely symbolic.

Related:
MEMO: Reid has few good options on House-passed bill to block Obama’s amnesty
Opposition to Obama’s Amnesty Grows Among Senate Democrats

Read More