- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 12, 2015

Senate Democrats’ filibuster of a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security that would block deportation amnesty is not about the immigration issue but about respecting President Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday.

“This is not a question of protecting illegal people in our country, it’s a question of respecting the authority of the president of the United States,” Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, told reporters at her weekly press conference at the Capitol.

Current funding for the Department of Homeland Security runs out Feb. 27, but Senate Democrats are blocking the spending bill that includes a prohibition of Mr. Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

“As the president said, ‘If you don’t like what I’ve done, pass a bill. Pass a bill,’” Mrs. Pelosi said, repeating the presidents demand that Homeland Security funding and immigration be dealt with individually, neutralizing the Republicans’ leverage to force an end to the amnesty plan.

“They are in a fix,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “We’ll see how they get themselves out of it. We stand ready to work with them to protect the American people.”

The House-passed bill that would fund the department but also reign in Mr. Obama’s immigration moves has been stuck in the Senate, with Senate Democrats voting three times to sustain a filibuster.

House Speaker John A. Boehner gave no sign that he’s working on a backup plan, saying at a separate press conference that it’s up to Senate Democrats to decide what happens next.

He said House Republicans stand by their bill, which cleared on a 236-191 vote.

“It’s real clear. It’s time for Senate Democrats to get into the game, get on the bill. If they don’t like what we’ve done, they can amend it. It’s as simple as that,” he told reporters, before adding, “Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day.”

Mrs. Pelosi explained the Democrat’s stance in defense of Mr. Obama after calling for the House to pass a “clean” bill that doesn’t challenge the president’s move to grant legal resident status and work permits to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants.

She insisted Mr. Obama had the power to rewrite immigration laws.

“The president has the legal authority to do what he did,” she said. “He has it by the law and that has been recognized in court cases under other presidents. So he has it under legislation, he has it under legal affirmation of that and he has it under the precedent of other presidents.”

Mrs. Pelosi cited the precedents set by President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush when they expanded an amnesty program for illegal immigrants to include more people.

But fact checkers have debunked the comparison by noting that the amnesty granted Mr. Reagan and Mr. Bush affected far few people and was done to carrying out newly passed laws, while Mr. Obama is acting in lieu of congressional action.

Republicans have argued that Mr. Obama’s immigration moves are illegal and unconstitutional.


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