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)