On Monday, Senator Ted Cruz was the only senator to vote against Senator Mitch McConnell’s plan for the Senate this week: a so-called “free-for-all” open debate about immigration on the Senate floor.
Fears of a Democrat-leaning deal on DACA are rampant among Republican activists, and with conservative websites calling this the “amnesty debate”, Senator Cruz’s solitary objection gives voice to the thousands of voters who believed what they were told on the campaign trails of 2016.
His office released a statement Monday night (below.)
The unusual debate period this week will of course focus on DACA and family immigration, among other issues, and begins in earnest Tuesday.
From the New York Times:
The highly unusual debate, expected to unfold throughout the week, will test whether a series of legislative concepts and proposals championed by President Trump and a variety of Republicans and Democrats can garner 60 votes, the threshold for a measure to pass the Senate. No one has any idea how it will turn out.
“Whoever gets to 60 wins,” Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, told reporters last week. “And it will be an opportunity for 1,000 flowers to bloom.”
The process kicked off Monday evening with a procedural vote on an unrelated House-passed measure that will serve as a shell for building an immigration bill. By a vote of 97 to 1, with only Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, dissenting, senators took the first step toward consideration of the underlying measure, as expected.
As McConnell said, 60 is the game now. The objective is to reach that number before recess on Friday. “This is Sen. (Dick) Durbin and Democrats’ opportunity and so far they kind of seem to be a little confused about what they’re planning on doing — but they better get it done quick because it’s this week or not at all,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said this week. “People had better get to work because the clock is ticking.”
Senator Cruz voted against, and he explained why in a statement from Catherine Frazier, his Senior Communications Advisor.
“Sen. Cruz believes it would be a serious mistake for Congress to pass legislation that grants a path to citizenship for those here illegally. Such a policy is inconsistent with the promises that he and Republicans have made to the voters, and is in fact further to the left of President Obama’s position.”
“The solutions that we should pursue should focus on securing the border and building the wall, as well as passing Kate’s Law and the El Chapo Act, both introduced by Sen. Cruz.”
“Respectively, these bills will provide for mandatory minimum prison sentences for aggravated felons who repeatedly enter the country illegally and require that any assets seized from convicted drug lords go towards building the wall and other border security assets.”
On Tuesday, the Senate will nevertheless take this up and the actual debate is expected to begin. Republicans have not outlined a plan, but several senators promised media that Tuesday all would become clear.
There will be a lot of news from this process throughout the week. Read RedState to keep up to date. And make sure to watch Sen. Cruz’s Twitter timeline. If the many amnesty ideas floating around start making headway, you can bet he’ll tweet about it.