02.06.2015 1

Breaking the Senate Dem filibuster on Homeland Security funding

By Robert Romano

border is secureRepublican leaders have three times this week attempted to bring legislation to the floor of the Senate that would fund the Department of Homeland Security for the remainder of the fiscal year.

But Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) won’t let that happen.

Each time it has come up, it has failed 51-48 on February 3, 53-47 on February 4, and 52-47 on February 5. The measure requires 60 votes to break the Democrat-led filibuster.

The bill would also prohibit the White House from implementing its executive amnesty of 4.5 million illegal immigrants with U.S.-born children, a measure Democrats say they oppose.

The provision fulfills a 2014 promise GOP leaders made to the American people that they would attach a prohibition on Obama’s action to the Homeland Security funding.

So, what to do?

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning had a solution to the impasse: Keep voting to bring the bill to the floor.

“If Senate Democrats wish to offer an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security funding, they can do that, but they need to allow the bill to be acted upon,” Manning offered in a statement.

“If they can muster the votes to change it, it will be changed,” Manning noted.

It is unclear whether Senate Democrats would have the necessary support to remove the House-passed language — they would need some Republicans willing to potentially commit political suicide and break with their own party — but what’s fair is fair.

Under Senate rules, if the minority objects to legislation being brought to the floor, under normal order, they can move to amend it. That’s how the process moves forward.

But maybe Reid doesn’t want the process to move forward. As Manning stated, “Senate Democrats are jeopardizing homeland security to protect President Obama’s unconstitutional action granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.”

Manning urged the Senate to rise above the fray and work with the House-passed bill: “With all the threats facing the homeland, now is not the time to allow politics to interfere with our nation’s security. Let the bill come to the floor as is.”

“As it stands, funding expires at the end of the month, and the world is not getting any safer,” Manning concluded.

At a morning press conference on the House side, reporters wanted to know what House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) would do if the Senate fails to act.

The reporter asked, “Yeah, but three times is the charm.  What is next?  I mean, they are voting on it right now.  It is not going to happen.”

Boehner did not relent, answering the question with a question: “Why are you asking me?  You should be asking Senate Democrats.  Why do they continue to block the consideration of the bill?”

So far, Senate Democrats have not produced any alternative to the measure. Ironically, through their filibuster, the Senate minority has blocked itself from offering any amendments to legislation they say they object to.

ALG’s Manning urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to hold firm: “We urge the Senate majority to continue holding cloture votes on this important piece of legislation so that the process can move forward, and members have an opportunity to make their voices heard. The House has done its job. Now it’s time for the Senate to get to work.”

For his part, McConnell could not make heads or tails out of the opposition. “You’d think Democrats would at least want to give the Senate an opportunity to make improvements to the bill, if it needs them,” he said on the floor.

Besides, what is Harry Reid afraid of? The President has already promised to veto the legislation anyway. If Reid has a better idea, perhaps he should bring it to the floor for a vote.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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