Wednesday, July 13, 2016

House approves Sanctuary Cities amendment, while Senate Democrats block debate on Toomey bill

There's been a lot of public outcry in the year since the tragic shooting death of San Francisco woman Kate Steinle at the hands of a seven-times convicted and five-times deported illegal alien who was set free because of the city's sanctuary policies. But Congress has done little to force jurisdictions to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement even when it has detained a violent criminal alien.
That trend continued this week after most Senate Democrats blocked debate on a bill introduced by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that would have withheld certain federal funds from jurisdictions that don't cooperate with ICE.
The House, however, did approve an amendment on Thursday to the Financial Services spending bill offered by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.). Rep. Gosar's amendment blocked any funds from the bill from going to cities that refuse to cooperate with ICE. The amendment passed easily 236-182, but it was mostly a party-line vote.
One Democrat crossed the line to vote for the Gosar amendment -- Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas). Rep. Cuellar, who represents a border district in Texas, has taken a stronger position on immigration enforcement since the 2014 border surge.
Six Republicans sided with the Democrats in opposing the amendment -- Reps. David Valadao of California, Bob Dold of Illinois, David Reichert of Washington, and Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Curbelo, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. None of the six were really a surprise.
There will likely be more votes on blocking funds for Sanctuary Cities as the 2017 spending bills continue to come to the House floor, but since it's unlikely that the House and Senate will agree on any of the measures, the chances for any of them making it to Pres. Obama's desk for his signature are slim. Still, all these votes are a good opportunity to see where Members of Congress stand on the issues.
The Senate voted down two bills last Wednesday:  Sen. Toomey's Sanctuary Cities bill and Sen. Ted Cruz's "Kate's Law." Both received majority support but fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance.  Evidently Senate Democrats seem to think that helping illegals get a better life is more important than the lives of innocent Americans.  Yeah, they are trying to build up party membership.  Every illegal who becomes a citizen eventually will think the Democrats are their friends.  Unfortunately the strategy seems to be working.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) broke with the Democrats on both votes to advance the bills. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) opposed the Toomey bill, but did vote in favor of the Cruz bill.
To no real surprise, Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois was the only Republican to oppose the Toomey sanctuary cities bill. He did vote for "Kate's law".
Both chambers of Congress are in session next week before they break for the summer recess that runs through Labor Day. The long summer recess will be an important chance for us to influence our Members of Congress -- most of which will be on the campaign trail trying to court voters. The House Rules Committee has a hearing scheduled on the Dept. of the Interior spending bill, but for now, it doesn't look like there have been any immigration-related amendments offered.

If Trump wins in November, just imagine how many immigration bills there will be floating around in the House and Senate.  We'll probably be hip deep in them.  Hopefully some of them will do some good, but don't count on it.
Dan 88!

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