Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Republicans utilizing the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill in an effort to defund President Obama’s immigration actions shows GOPs “are more afraid of the DREAMers than they are of ISIS.”
“It gives one pause to think how brutal, vicious and inhumane ISIS can be. But we’ve learned, of course, that the Jordanian pilot, they put him in a cage and burned him to death. If we look around the world, we see what’s happened in Canada with terrorism, Australia, all over the European community. Of course, we know what happened in Paris and what happened in Belgium. And to think that we in the United States, unlike those other countries who are adding to their money to protect their homeland, we’re talking about taking it away,” Reid told reporters after a caucus meeting on the Hill today.
“So instead of fighting for the middle class, Republicans are aching for a fight over homeland security funding. Why? Because they’re mad at President Obama because they want to deport DREAMers. As Martin Heinrich said and was tweeted by Claire McCaskill, it’s obvious that Republicans are more afraid of the DREAMers than they are of ISIS,” he added.
“With terrorist threats all around us, Rs should not be shutting down Homeland Security over immigration politics,” the Missouri senator tweeted last week. “Happy to debate immigration policy, but not willing to jeopardize our homeland security over holding immigration policy hostage… Question? Who is bigger threat to America? The dreamers? Or ISIS?”
Reid added that “America’s facing a real national security threat, and ISIS, they claim they intend to reach America soon.”
“We cannot afford to de-fund the Department of Homeland Security. We all know this is going to end with a bill funding Homeland Security that goes to the president. They’ll wind up passing a clean bill, so why stop — why do we wait, why do we agonize?” he continued.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that a year and a half after “following Ted Cruz mindlessly into a cul-de-sac,” when the GOP “had to give up, they had to wave the white flag… they’re at it again.”
“Once again, Ted Cruz has convinced the Republicans that they should shut down a large part of the government until they get their way. It won’t work. Democrats are resolute we will not let that happen,” Schumer vowed.
“Yes, we’re happy to debate immigration. We think that’s a good issue for us. But we’re not going to do it with a gun to our head and to the head of the American people. They are saying we’re going to take a hostage and then we want you to negotiate over the price. No way, Mr. Cruz, no way. The bottom line is very simple. Pass a good homeland security bill, make America secure. Then, separately, put an immigration bill on the floor and we’ll be happy to debate it as long as you want. But never, never, never threaten to shut down the government and risk our security until you get your way.”
Asked if there’s anything Democrats will accept other than a clean bill that fully funding DHS, Reid replied, “No.”
This afternoon Dems did unite in the cloture vote, blocking the House version of the DHS bill from coming to the floor. GOP Sen. Dean Heller (Nev.) voted “no” and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) was snowed in back home in Chicago and couldn’t get a flight to D.C. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) changed his vote to “no” at the end to preserve his right to bring the legislation back to the floor.
The final toll was 51-48, well short of the 60 needed to overcome the filibuster.
“The bipartisan House bill that was blocked from a vote today in the U.S. Senate would fully fund all of the important functions of the Department of Homeland Security. It would strengthen our borders, bolster immigration and customs enforcement, enhance cybersecurity to deflect cyber-attacks and provide new technology and tools to the men and women who protect the American people and our homeland,” Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) said afterward.
“The legislation would also reverse the president’s unilateral executive decision to defer action on approximately 5 million illegal immigrants, allowing them to live and work in the United States. Immigration policy, like other major policies, needs to be debated and voted on in Congress. It needs to reflect the will of the American people and not the decision of one individual.”