Department of Homeland Security Fundingby Senator Jeff Sessions
Posted on 2015-02-04
SESSIONS. Mr. President, the House of Representatives has voted
to fully fund homeland security, as the President has requested. It
sent a bill to the Senate that fully funds all the lawful policies and
programs in homeland security. The bill will not deny a penny of
funding. In fact, it says, spend the money, but on enforcing the laws
of the United States. Don't spend money undermining the laws of the
United States. Don't spend money in violation of the laws of the United
States. Don't spend money in violation of the established policies of
Congress, which rejected the President's ideas that he is now
executing. And don't spend money in violation of the will of the
American people who overwhelmingly oppose the President's unlawful
That is what we are talking about today, and my colleagues continue to suggest that somehow Republicans are not funding the Homeland Security Department. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Our colleagues have now voted to block going to the bill. If they don't like some of the provisions that came over from the House, well, let's get on the bill and let's have some relevant amendments and let's vote on it. That is what Congress is about. That is the way we are supposed to do business here.
But our colleagues have gotten spoiled. They think they can block anything and turn around and blame the Republicans for it and that somehow everybody is going to agree with them.
Look, the American people get this. The President is not entitled to spend money to implement a system of immigration that Congress, representing the American people, rejected. If our Democratic colleagues are unhappy, then, as I said, they can offer amendments.
I feel it would be a stunning event if the Senate removes language from a bill that simply restores the separation of powers and prevents the President from overreaching in violating the Constitution. But if they want to bring up amendments that would allow the President to do this activity, let's do it, let's bring it up, and let's vote on it. Perhaps they might win it. But I think it is untenable constitutionally and it is untenable legally, because it is contrary to the law and the will of the American people.
My good friend Senator Schumer is one of our able Members of this body. He spoke earlier today and he said: The [[Page S762]] right wing of the Republican Party is risking a DHS--Department of Homeland Security--shutdown to get their way on immigration. They are saying: Take our hard right stance on immigration, or we won't fund national security.
That is not so, Senator Schumer. Give me a break. Come on. You are blocking the bill. The House has voted to fund homeland security. It is on the floor. We need to pass it, and we will give you an opportunity to offer your amendments if you are not happy with it. It is absolutely not so that they are doing that.
So how is it being reported? Republicans frequently complain they don't get fair reporting in the press, but let's look at this: U.S. News and World Report, today: ``Senate Democrats Block Bill Undoing Immigration Actions.'' That is the headline, ``Undoing Immigration Actions.'' Those are President Obama's unlawful actions. So they are defending his actions, not defending homeland security.
How about this one, USA Today: ``Democrats again block efforts to derail immigration order.'' The effort would derail the President's unlawful Executive amnesty--but it funds homeland security, as the article makes clear.
Fox News: ``Senate Dems nix debate on Homeland Security bill, blocking it, in protest over immigration.'' Who is blocking the bill? Politico: ``Democrats filibuster Department of Homeland Security bill.'' That is exactly what is happening. The bill has passed the House. It is on the floor. We are trying to bring it up. We are trying to have debate. We are trying to have amendments. And they are blocking the bill--according to Politico, no rightwing publication.
The Washington Post: ``Senate Democrats block DHS spending bill targeting Obama's immigration actions.'' The Atlantic. This is a good one. For those of us who have been around here a long time, and I think for reporters who cover it, this is really humorous, to have our Democratic colleagues, having complained for years about what Republicans do. This is the headline in the Atlantic: ``The New Democratic Obstructionists.'' Here is the headline in the New York Times: ``Senate Democrats Block Republicans' Homeland Security Bill.'' So I would say, colleagues, the American people know better. The media knows better. They know who is blocking this bill. They know that the Congress of the United States--that the House of Representatives and the Senate is not required to fund any program it doesn't like.
It is absolutely not required, and it has a duty not to fund Presidential expenditures that are illegal. The Department of Homeland Security is provided funds to enforce the laws of the United States. The President right now is taking money that was sent to Homeland Security to enforce laws and he is redirecting it and moving it over to a building just across the river in Crystal City, hiring 1,000 persons to process applications of people illegally in the country and to provide them the earned-income tax credit, which is a direct check from the United States of America, provide them a Social Security number, the right to participate in Social Security, legal status in the country, the right to work in the country, and participation in Medicare, when the law of the United States says if someone is here unlawfully, they cannot work. So that is what this is all about.
I just want to push back. I urge my colleagues--at least seven of my Democratic colleagues have said they oppose President Obama's actions. When do they have a clearer chance to confront that action and demonstrate with conviction that they meant what they said than on this vote? It allows the bill to come forward. It allows us to have a vote. It allows anybody in the Senate to offer amendments that would be relevant to the bill. I feel strongly about that.
I see the Senator from New York. I think she was in line to speak before I was, and I was able to grab a few minutes. So I would just say this. Colleagues, please review your position on this. Let's move to this bill. Let's fund Homeland Security. Let's discuss and have amendments and vote on the President's Executive order, and the one who wins the votes, so be it. That is the way the Congress of the United States works.
I thank the Chair, and I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New York.