Oh, no! Can we seriously be looking at the possibility of another government shutdown this fall?
House and Senate leaders vowed to make short order of a stop-gap spending bill to keep the government operating beyond the start of a new fiscal year Oct. 1 before members return home again to campaign for reelection. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) joked on Monday that she would do everything possible to keep the bill non-controversial and easy for the two chambers and President Obama to approve.
“Right now what I hope to be able to do is to keep the government open, to avoid a government shutdown, to do no harm and to be as boring as possible,” she told reporters. “Boring is my new best friend.”
Enter Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the Tea Party firebrand who helped provoke last year’s 16-day government shutdown in a drive to derail Obamacare. He’s at it again – this time threatening to block the continuing resolution over immigration policy.
Cruz endorsed a GOP effort to attach an amendment to the CR that would block Obama’s executive order deferring the deportation of illegal immigrants who were brought to this country at an early age—the so-called “dreamers.” At a news conference Tuesday, Cruz declined to rule out opposing the stop-gap spending bill if it doesn’t include language rescinding the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, according to Roll Call.
In June 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children and who meet several guidelines, might request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Cruz and many House Republicans critics contend that the DACA program is tantamount to “amnesty” for illegal immigrants.
By forcing a vote on DACA as part of the continuing resolution debate, Cruz seeks to put many Democrats facing tough reelection campaigns on the spot.
“The House of Representatives has stood up and led,” Cruz said, according to Roll Call. “Let senators go on record whether or not they support amnesty. Senators who support amnesty, or those here illegally, let them look in the eyes of their constituents before Election Day, and say, ‘This is what I support, you let me know if you agree or not.’”
Cruz – joined by Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Mike Lee (R-UT) – told reporters it would be “appropriate” to add the language to the CR, saying that lawmakers should use “any tool at our disposal,” according to Roll Call.
A noticeably agitated Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) later told reporters that if Republicans press for a CR amendment blocking the administration program, they would be courting another government shutdown.
“If I have anything to do with it? No, no, no,” Reid said of allowing a vote on such a proposal. When asked what would happen if the Republican senators insisted on a vote on the immigration provision as part of the CR, Reid replied, “They have every right to do whatever they want legislatively. If they want to be the lead team of shutting down the government, that’s what they’re going to have to do.
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