Durbin is also supporting Schumer and won’t seek the top spot
by SAHIL KAPUR | READ MORE | MARCH 27, 2015
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) caused a political earthquake on Friday by announcing he won’t seek reelection in 2016, opening up the coveted perch of Democratic leader that he has held since 2005.
Before the jockeying could begin to succeed the mild-mannered political brawler as the chief caucus leader, Reid endorsed New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat, within hours of his announcement.
“I think Schumer should be able to succeed me,” Reid told the Washington Post, predicting that Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat, would stand down. Reid said he spoke to Durbin by phone before the interview.
Indeed, it turns out Durbin is also supporting Schumer and won’t seek the top spot.
“Senator Durbin told Senator Schumer late last night that he wasn’t running for Leader, and that Schumer has his support,” a Durbin spokesman told TPM. “Durbin intends to run again for Whip and has Senator Reid’s support. He’s been speaking with senators this morning.”
Schumer would have been the clear favorite to win a race, multiple Democratic sources said.
“Schumer is clearly the frontrunner,” said one Democratic Senate aide, who is unaffiliated with each of the three senators. “He’s just positioned himself that way both publicly and privately. He’s worked very hard to earn the loyalty of the caucus, certainly in a way that Durbin just hasn’t. He tries to engage directly and be a resource and an asset to individual members, to stick up for them and fight for them in leadership meetings.”
Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday, Levin dubbed Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) “one of the most despicable, dumbest men to ever be leader in the Senate,” but added that Reid is “running circles around the Republicans.”
“That’s what happens when you have no principles, no strategy and no guts,” Levin said of Congressional Republicans. “It’s time for a new Republican Party.”
“No more excuses. No more whining. No more lying to get you elected. No more crony deals with the U.S. Chamber of crony capitalism,” Levin said, taking a political shot at the business community powerhouse U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Levin made clear his opposition to likely 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush.
“We are not a nation of immigrants. We are a nation of citizens,” Levin said to applause. “I am sick and tired of the American citizen being demeaned and treated as a second-class citizen while anybody who crosses the border is treated as the most virtuous human being on the face of the earth.”
Levin said some GOP presidential candidates have referred “to us as essentially lazy and racist and themselves rejecting the belief of American exceptionalism, insisting that the nation owes its current and future greatness, if not existence, to uninterrupted massive waves of low-skilled and unskilled aliens from the third world.”
“This has never been the American experience. Immigration is to be managed, limited, gradual to allow for assimilation and Americanization,” Levin said. “You see, Mr. Bush, we love our country, too.”
Top Republican donors and strategists have argued presidential candidates should strike a more inclusive tone on immigration reform, noting that Hispanics are an important constituency needed to win elections.
President Obama’s immigration policies have been a hot-button issue in recent days as lawmakers barely agreed to avert a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Tea Party conservatives had hoped to block DHS funding unless it came with language to defund President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
With just two hours left until a shutdown took hold, lawmakers reached a one-week stopgap funding deal late Friday night.
Allow funding for the Department of Homeland Security to lapse or engage in the legislative process.
Those are the only two options Senate Democrats have at this point. Everything else transcribed in the press or recited by television pundits is nothing more than a distraction. Senate Democrats, of course, deny that binary choice, but their denials are only accepted by those who can’t — or won’t — understand the wonderfully complex rules of the United States Senate.
Before diving into the process, it is worth taking a minute to understand the politics.
Obama and Senate Democrats are trying to give illegal immigrants a $24,000 check while border patrol agents will have their paychecks withheld.
The implication of the Democrat-led filibuster is that Homeland Security funding will lapse and our nation’s border patrol agents will have their paychecks withheld after Feb. 27. While those fine men and women continue to work without pay, the Department of Homeland Security will be preparing to grant legal status and work permits to those who are in the country illegally. To make matters worse, some of these individuals will use their newly issued Social Security numbers to claim four years’ worth of tax credits.
For those looking for a 30-second campaign ad, this is political gold: President Obama and Senate Democrats are trying to give illegal immigrants a $24,000 check while border patrol agents will have their paychecks withheld. It also has the added benefit of being true.
(Warning: here comes the procedural tutorial.)
Before the Senate can begin debating and amending the House-passed bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, they must first vote to proceed to that bill. By refusing to proceed to the bill, Senate Democrats are blocking senators from debating and amending the bill. A new report from the Congressional Research Service lays out procedural options for “ending consideration of a motion to proceed.”
Democrats have zero procedural options for moving off the current motion to proceed to the House-passed Homeland Security funding bill. They have just two options: 1) continue blocking consideration of the bill; or 2) agree to the motion to proceed and begin the promised amendment process.
Here again Democrats say, no, that isn’t true. They have a bill to pay border patrol agents and allow illegal immigrants to collect their amnesty bonus. Setting aside the obvious policy concerns, their solution runs into two problems. First, as mentioned previously, they cannot simply call up their bill. Second, as a standalone measure that bill is unconstitutional.
The Constitution is quite clear on this point. So clear that even Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) understands — or understood. In 2007 he declared, “Everyone knows, even in elementary school, that under our Constitution revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives.”
If Senate Democrats believe their alternative can prevail, they should vote to proceed to the House-passed bill and offer it as an amendment. There simply is no other way, no matter what anyone else suggests. Left unsaid by most is that Democrats are well aware they would lose a vote on their amendment, so they are hiding behind procedural hurdles.
There is likely to be some temptation to avoid this fight now that a Fifth Circuit judge has issued an injunction and the administration announced it would halt implementation of the president’s amnesty. While Obama’s actions are clearly unconstitutional, conservatives have little reason to trust the courts to make the right decision. What’s more, the administration said they will prevail in court and begin implementing and expanding the amnesty program.
Even with the stunning news out of Texas, Democrats have just two options. They can deny paychecks to border patrol agents or they can engage in the legislative process. It is that simple.
Hypocrisy is a given in Washington.
So much so that Senate Democrats must believe no one notices just how much of it they are guilty of in their attempts to prevent Congress from funding the Department of Homeland Security.
First, Democrats say they want to fund Homeland Security–yet they have filibustered any and all attempts by Republicans to even bring the bill up for debate.
Second, while numerous Democratic senators have made public statements saying President Obama was wrong to take executive action to change the country’s immigration laws without consent from Congress, none of these folks now appear willing to vote for or even discuss the Department of Homeland Security funding bill that would prevent Obama’s executive amnesty plans from taking place.
And then late last week, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) made the suggestion that the Senate do something he said just a few years ago was unconstitutional. He recommended the Senate create its own Homeland Security funding bill, pass it, and send it to the House. But back in 2007, Durbin was emphatic that the Constitution required all spending measures to begin in the House. During a debate with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) over appropriations, he said the following:
This is a Senate appropriations bill. As the senator from Texas knows, the Constitution requires that spending bills originate in the House. So the House would either object or ignore this bill or blue slip the bill in a way that would mean that whatever we would do here would not achieve the result asked for by the senator from Texas. (Durbin, Congressional Record, 12/11/07)
On another occasion, but making the same “all spending bills must originate in the House” argument, another Democrat, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) put it this way:
Not only is this vote unnecessary, it is totally meaningless. It is a motion to proceed to a Senate appropriations bill. Let me repeat that it is a motion to proceed to a Senate appropriations bill. Everyone knows, even in elementary school, that under our Constitution revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives. So even if the Senate were to pass his bill, the House would refuse to act on it. This would be the case regardless of which party controls the House of Representatives. (Reid, 11/16/07)
And that is perhaps the ultimate hypocrisy. Senate Democrats are asking to do something unconstitutional while calling it constitutional in order to allow something unconstitutional to happen. If you can follow that logic, you should apply for a job in Washington.
By Jennifer Burke
In a move that risks a partial shutdown of the government, and that simultaneously sides with illegals over the protection of American citizens, Senate Democrats blocked a House-passed Homeland Security bill.
The bill, put forth and passed by the House, would have fully funded DHS, but not Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty which was implemented via executive order. While Democrats say that fully funding DHS is imperative due to the mounting rise and threat of lone wolf terrorist attacks, and threats by ISIS, they will not do so if it in any way jeopardizes amnesty.
The Washington Times reports that West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin said, “I stand ready to work with my Republican colleagues to secure our border and reform our immigration system, but this bill is not the proper place to do that.”
According to USA Today , Nevada Democrat Senator Harry Reid said, “”Why should we be dealing with issues that have nothing to do with homeland security?. We should pass a homeland security bill with no strings attached to it.”
The $40 billion bill would not only have cut funding for Obama’s illegal amnesty, but also ended the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) program which was also illegally implemented by Obama via executive order in 2012. It was from the DACA program that the term DREAMers was coined in reference to the 600,000 young illegal immigrants who were brought into the country by their parents. DACA allowed them to obtain work permits and stay in the country at least two years. Obama also recently expanded DACA through his illegal amnesty program.”
The majority of DHS employees are considered essential workers, so they would be expected to work as the funding fight continues, but will not receive a paycheck until it is resolved.
Republicans in the House view the DHS funding bill as a fight against Obama’s overreach via executive action. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who has often butted heads with the more conservative faction of the Republican caucus, even turned to Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a favorite among the pro-freedom, pro-Constitution Tea Party movement, to lead the fight in the Senate.
Speaker Boehner said, “We won this fight in the House. Now, the fight must be won in the United States Senate. It’s time for Senator Cruz and Senator Sessions and Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats to stand with the American people and to block the president’s actions.”
With Democrat obstruction preventing the bill from moving forward, Republicans will now have to scramble to come up with a Plan B. They have vowed to not allow the DHS to run out of money.
A new bill must be decided upon and passed in order to fully fund DHS through the end of the fiscal year. If Democrats continue to obstruct funding for DHS by siding with illegals over Americans, then DHS will run out of money on February 27.
Nevada Senator Dean Heller was the sole Republican to vote with the Democrats against the DHS funding bill.