Senate GOP Leaders Back Obama Amnesty, Oppose Cruz Vote
Twenty-four of 42 GOP senators, including all the GOP leaders, backed the $1.1 trillion 2015 budget that also funds President Barack Obama’s unilateral amnesty.
The Senate’s 56-to-40 vote came as outgoing Democratic Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid used the broad GOP opposition to the Obama’s amnesty to split the GOP into two factions.
That 20-to-22 split came late Saturday, when Republicans finally had a chance to vote for or against Obama’s amnesty.
The vote was engineered by Sen. Ted Cruz, who filed a “Point of Order” claim that required the senators to say if they thought the budget bill was constitutional despite not defunding Obama’s amnesty. Unless negated by judges, the amnesty is expected to provide five million migrants with work permits to let them compete for legal jobs against Americans, to put many illegals on a fast-track to citizenship, and to prevent the repatriation of nearly all 12 million migrants in the United States.
Twenty-two GOP senators used the Cruz opportunity to say the amnesty is unconstitutional, and three GOP senators were absent.
The remaining 20 Republican senators said the budget bill was constitutional, even if Obama’s amnesty is not.
The group of 20 senators, however, included many who dislike Cruz, and several angered by Reid’s decision to hold a series of Saturday votes. Reid’s decision forced GOP senators to cancel travel plans and miss planned parties. He skillfully steered that anger toward Cruz, sharply reducing his total votes down to 22, a Senate aide told The Daily Caller.
“Senators are so mad at Cruz right now… the subject of the Cruz amendment was Cruz,” not the amnesty, the aide said.
More than 22 GOP senators are opposed to the amnesty, and others are ambivalent, even though the GOP leadership — and several senators —- are quietly backing the amnesty, he said.
“A lot of members are casually going along with this” anti-Cruz mood, he said. But “they’re easily flippable into the [anti-amnesty] fight” when they feel pressure from constituents, he said.
The anti-Cruz mood was spotlighted by pro-amnesty South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. He voted against Cruz’s measure, and later he tweeted out thinly veiled criticism of Cruz.
“Some of the tactics employed today will result in numerous Obama nominees – previously blocked – to end up being confirmed… I haven’t seen Harry Reid smile like this in years,” said Graham, who actually kick-started the Senate’s bitter 2013 immigration debate in December 2012 by teaming up with New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer.