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Senate votes in favor of Pres Obamas executive amnesty

September 19, 2014

In a procedural vote in the Senate on Thursday, a motion offered by Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to allow a vote on Pres. Obama's executive amnesty fell one vote short of passing, allowing the President to move forward with his reported plan to grant amnesty to work permits to an estimated 5-6 million illegal aliens after November's mid-term elections. Five Democrats -- four of which face difficult re-election bids -- joined the 45 Republican Senators in supporting the motion to move forward with a vote.

With the Senate and House poised to adjourn until after the mid-term elections, the motion was likely the last opportunity for Congress to stop Pres. Obama from moving forward.

"You (the American people) have been right from the beginning. You have justly demanded that our borders be controlled, our laws enforced and that, at long last, immigration policy serves the needs of our own people first," Sen. Sessions said just before the vote. "For this virtuous and legitimate demand, you have been demeaned, even scorned by the governing class."

In early-August, the House of Representatives passed a bill offered by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), H.R.5272, that would have prevented any congressionally-authorized spending to be used by Pres. Obama to grant work permits to illegal aliens. The bill would essentially block the President's plans to issue a large-scale amnesty and prevent renewals of work permits for illegal aliens who benefited through his earlier executive amnesties. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote in an effort to protect both Pres. Obama and Senate Democrats. A recent poll by "The Polling Company" found that nearly two-thirds of voters oppose Pres. Obama taking executive action on immigration. Senate Democrats would be forced to support an unpopular move by Pres. Obama or rebuke him.

With Sen. Reid's reluctance to bring the Blackburn bill to the floor, Sens. Sessions and Cruz joined together to offer it as an amendment to the must-pass Continuing Resolution that would fund the federal government through mid-December. Sen. Reid, however, used a procedural move called "filling the amendment tree" that prevents Senators from offering amendments to the bill.

Sens. Sessions and Cruz offered a motion to table the "amendment tree" while making it clear to other Senators that the purpose of the motion was to allow a vote on the Blackburn bill. All 45 Republican Senators and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) cast their votes in favor of the motion and 49 of the 54 remaining Democrats and Independents cast their votes against the motion. With 46 votes in favor, Sen. Reid knew he could allow 4 other Democrats to support the motion and still defeat it since it needed 51 votes to pass. He ultimately allowed Senators Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) to vote in favor of the motion, while Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), who also faces a tough re-election, was forced to cast the deciding vote to kill the motion. The motion failed because of a 50-50 tie.

This is the second time Sen. Manchin has broken with the Democrats on the issue of Pres. Obama's executive amnesties. In early-August, Sen. Sessions offered a similar procedural motion to get a vote on the Blackburn bill, and Manchin was the lone Democrat to support the motion.

Reports over the summer said the Obama Administration was considering an expansion of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which granted amnesty and work permits to more than 500,000 illegal aliens who met certain qualifications. The President had first promised to take action before the end of the summer, but coming under pressure from several Democrats in tight re-election races, he announced earlier this month that we would delay the action until after the mid-term elections.