Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., yesterday said “I think we should use any and all means necessary to prevent the president from illegally granting amnesty.” That could include amending a stop-gap spending bill (continuing resolution) with a House-passed measure that would prevent funds from being spent to implement President Obama’s administrative amnesty. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who opposes the measure, accused Sen. Cruz of inviting a government shutdown.
At a Tuesday press conference with Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and a number of House Republicans, Sen. Cruz said:
President Obama just this weekend announced to the country that it is his intention to unilaterally grant amnesty to millions more who are here illegally. But he said with a cynicism that even in Washington is notable, he (the President) said he understands that the American people don’t like that policy, so he’s going to helpfully wait until after the election to violate the law and illegally grant an amnesty. President Obama has decided this election will be a referendum on amnesty…The House of Representatives…did its work, passed legislation to take amnesty off the table, and the only reason it hasn’t passed into law is that Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats refuse to vote on it…(W)e are here today asking for one very simple thing, which is for Harry Reid to allow the Senate to do its job—to actually show up and schedule a vote and let Senators go on record whether or not they support amnesty. If Senators support amnesty for those who are here illegally, let them look in the eyes of their constituents before election day and say this is what I support, let me know if you agree or not.”
-- Sen. Cruz
At his own press conference, Majority Leader Reid said he would not allow a vote on a measure that would block executive amnesty. And he suggested that any attempt to add the measure to the continuing resolution (CR), which is intended to fund federal agencies after September 30, would invite a government shutdown. “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,” Reid said. He also said that he would “certainly hope” the CR could include the Department of Homeland Security’s requested funding for the border surge.
Sen. Reid has been using a procedural move called “filling the amendment tree” to block unwanted amendments on legislation. During August debate on the Senate’s supplemental spending bill for the border surge, Sen. Sessions tried to use another procedural move that would have allowed a vote on a measure to block Obama's executive amnesty. The procedure called “tabling the amendment tree failed to garner enough votes but Sen. Sessions was successful in using "point of order" procedure to defeat the bill.
The Senate has not passed regular appropriations bills to fund agencies for the new fiscal year beginning on October 1st so Senate and House leaders will seek passage of a CR to fund the government. If Senators Cruz and Sessions are successful this time in tabling Reid’s amendment tree for the CR, they can offer their measure to block Obama’s executive amnesty. Success on both counts would force Reid to either accept the measure or pull the bill from consideration and cause a government shutdown. So contrary to his assertion, Reid not Cruz may end up forcing a government shutdown.