Updates, personal notes, humor and tid-bits from friends, religious and/or political comment.
Friday, May 15, 2015
Another WIN in House of Reps
Week of May
This Issue: Brooks Amendment approved by the House; Amnesty provision stripped from defense bill
had a tremendous victory in the House of Representatives last night
when it passed an anti-amnesty amendment offered by Rep. Mo Brooks
(R-Ala.) by a 221-202 margin. The Brooks Amendment stripped out a
provision from the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act that
would have encouraged the Secretary of Defense to waive military
enlistment requirements for illegal aliens who received amnesty through
Pres. Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) assurance last week that the Senate Armed
Services Committee would not add immigration provisions to the bill,
this important defense legislation should now be free of any bad
immigration provisions as it makes its way to the President's desk.
The vote was mostly along party lines with 20 Republicans voting against the Brooks Amendment. You can see that list here.
House Armed Services Committee first added the provision to the NDAA
after narrowly passing an amendment offered by Rep. Ruben Gallego
had several issues with the DACA language in the must-pass defense
bill. Most importantly, though, we believed including it risked
signaling to the courts that Congress approves of the President's
illegal and unconstitutional executive amnesty of 2012. That appeared to
be the intent of those adding the DACA language. Since existing federal
law already allows for the Secretary of Defense to waive military
enlistment requirements for non-citizens, it appears the main reason our
opponents were pushing the DACA language in this defense bill was to
provide some congressional legitimacy for Pres. Obama's amnesty actions
that are being challenged in lawsuits that are working their way through
We've been coming to you for a few weeks now, asking for your activism, and it paid off!
Thanks to all of you who sent faxes, made phone calls, or posted on
Members of Congress' social media sites. Your actions have provided
important -- perhaps crucial -- support for the legal actions
challenging the Obama amnesties. We also want to thank Rules Committee
Chairman Pete Sessions and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, among others,
for working with us to ensure passage of the Brooks amendment.
Pres. Obama first announced his unconstitutional DACA program in 2012,
and then announced his larger executive actions last November, we vowed
to make it an issue for the President and his supporters on as many
issues as possible. But the National Defense Authorization Act was not a
fight we picked; interestingly, this one was started by Pres. Obama's
ATTENTION MOVES BACK TO TPA
cutting a deal with Senate Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell (R-Ky.) moved again to start the debate yesterday on the
fast-track trade bill that would give Pres. Obama and the next
administration an unprecedented amount of authority over the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade agreement, including over
future immigration to the United States.
As debate begins on the Senate floor, we're following three amendments -- one offered by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
and two offered by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) -- that would prevent
the President from negotiating immigration changes in the TPP. They each
have an amendment that specifically prohibits the President from
negotiating immigration in TPP, and Sen. Sessions also has an amendment
that requires Congressional approval of any changes to TPP after
Congress gives its initial approval. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a
"living document", meaning it can be changed overtime by the
Administration -- even after Congress approves it. The Sessions
amendment, however, would require Congressional approval after every
These three amendments would maintain Congress' plenary authority over federal immigration policy.
Please be on the lookout for action opportunities as we keep a close eye on the trade bill in the Senate.