Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 9, 2015

Sessions, Cruz Helped Sink Border Bills

immigration reform ted cruz jeff sessions border

Cruz, left, and Sessions helped scuttle border supplementals in both the House and Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated, 9:32 p.m. | Two southern Republican senators — Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Ted Cruz of Texas — played outsized roles sinking border supplemental bills on both sides of the Capitol as they demanded a push to end President Barack Obama’s “administrative amnesty.”

Sessions had ripped the House’s border bill as “surrender” to Obama’s plans to reportedly grant deportation relief and work permits to as many as five million more people in the country illegally. And Cruz rallied Republicans to back his legislation aimed at “stopping President Obama’s amnesty.”

Asked Thursday evening about his influence over House members, Sessions told CQ Roll Call, “I’ve been very clear on my views about what the key issues are. The president’s stunning declaration that he’s going to issue a massive amnesty requires Congress to appropriately respond. I think the best way to do that is through the power of the purse and so I just felt that — and I’ve been clear about it so the House members will make up their own mind.”

When pressed on whether he lobbied the Alabama delegation about the House bill, Sessions told CQ Roll Call, “I told them how I felt.”

Sessions attended a breakfast with a dozen House members Wednesday morning, according to Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala. Brooks said those at the breakfast discussed immigration. There were mixed reactions to the border funding bill in the breakfast, but House Deputy Whip Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., attended and asked for support.

Sessions also played a key role killing the Senate’s $3.6 billion supplemental focused on the border, offering a budget point of order. A 50-44 procedural vote was 10 shy of the needed 60 votes needed to advance the bill.

Cruz also met with House Republicans Wednesday, and hosted a meeting of his own with roughly a dozen members later that night on the issue. After House GOP leaders had to pull their bill, Democrats repeatedly labeled him “Speaker Cruz.” During a House Rules Committee meeting to retool the border funding legislation, ranking Democrat Louise Slaughter of New York referred to Cruz as an “adviser” to the House GOP.

Reporters on Thursday night asked Cruz about fellow Republicans who were confused by his lobbying efforts. “The premise of your question is false. My position on this crisis has not changed for many weeks. I have said publicly and privately the exact same thing, which is that we cannot solve the crisis at the border without stopping President Obama’s amnesty,” Cruz said.

The Texan added he has voiced his position to the media and “privately to members of the House, members of the Senate, to any members who will listen.”

Both Cruz and Sessions took issue with the GOP bill because it did not prohibit Obama from ending or expanding his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which delays deportations and provides work permits for children who were brought to the U.S. illegally.

In an effort to circle the wagons, House GOP leaders crafted a plan Wednesday night where members would first vote on the border funding legislation and then vote for a separate measure that would prevent DACA from expanding.

But their plan still did not gain enough support from the Republican caucus, which led to the scrambling Thursday afternoon.

A few hours before the chaos, Sessions took to the floor to implore lawmakers to vote against both the House plan and the Senate plan for border funding.

“Congress, as an institution, must not support any border package that does not expressly prohibit the president’s executive amnesty and block funds for its implementation,” Sessions said Thursday morning.

Sessions later added, “There is currently no legislation pending for a vote in either Chamber — House or Senate — which passes this test. As a result, both the House and Senate packages should not be supported.”

So far, Sessions is winning.

Ellyn Ferguson contributed to this report.


Related stories: 

Republicans Regroup on Border Funding Bill

House Leaders Postpone Border Supplemental, Delay Recess, Blame Obama

Ted Cruz Rallies House Conservatives to End ‘Obama’s Amnesty’

White House Excoriates GOP Deportation Demands

The Calm Before the Pre-Recess Storm

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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    Aug. 1, 2014
    6:45 a.m.

    Dump the GOP keystone cops on Nov 4 2014! They are domestic terrorists.

  2. Oscar Y. Harward

    Aug. 1, 2014
    7:20 a.m.

    Be aware of our ‘left-leaning’ Capitol Hill GOP leadership on this issue!

    Our GOP leadership under Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House John Boehner are misleading our Capitol Hill Republicans down the WRONG road in support of President Obama’s ‘illegal’ immigration to ‘Amnesty’; all for helping the Democrat Party.

    Mary of our ‘illegal’ immigrants are criminals, even terrorists; attacking Americans, robbing and killing our law-abiding Americans. Many are raping
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    A majority of our ‘illegal’ immigrants are receiving aid from our government sources; again at taxpayers’ expense.

    Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) are making every effort to save the USA, our Constitution, our Christian values, our freedoms, and our American taxpayers.

    This is so difficult when the Capitol Hill GOP leadership is failing to protect our USA, follow our Constitution, our Christian values, our freedoms, and continue to spend more of our American taxpayers; all on ‘DEFICIT’ spending.

    Are you aware of how many ‘illegal’ immigrants are becoming welcomed and treated at taxpaying Americans?

    As I have illustrated before, We now have 17 times more of ‘illegal’immigrants in the USA than the entire US Military stationed within the USA; more than 14 times more of ‘illegal’ immigrants in the USA than the entire US Military all around the world.

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