With the clock ticking down on Friday toward a government agency shutdown, Senate Republicans should exercise their new-found majority power to go nuclear — repeal the filibuster and force Democrats to vote on a bill that blocks funding of immigration amnesty, says a House Homeland Security committee member.
"It's time [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell takes the same extraordinary measures that [Sen. Harry] Reid did when he was in the Senate [majority]," Rep. Scott Perry, a two-term Pennsylvania Republican and Iraq war Army National Guard veteran, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV
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"They were elected to lead and change the battlefield and they're refusing to do it," Perry said of the GOP senators who in November won their first majority in eight years.
Perry argued that President Barack Obama, meanwhile, is constructing a veritable "fourth branch of government" out of federal agencies that are effectively making law — which is Congress' job — in healthcare, factory emissions, gun control, Internet regulation and, of late, immigration.
The Senate on Friday passed funding
for the Department of Homeland Security with no strings attached, leaving intact Obama's order for DHS to issue work permits and visas to millions of immigrants who came here illegally.
The House is preparing an interim bill
that would fund DHS in full for three more weeks, giving Republicans another shot in March at repealing the president's executive amnesty decree.
The compromise bill could meet resistance from House conservatives who oppose the president's actions.
Perry said he is "not sure" whether Boehner's caucus will vote for the stopgap measure to keep DHS from going dark at midnight.
"There are a lot of opinions either way on this thing," he said.
Perry recommended instead that McConnell abolish the minority's filibustering privileges — just as Reid did for judicial nominations, exercising the so-called nuclear option
when he was majority leader — and make Democrats vote on a Senate version of the DHS funding bill that the House passed in January.
Up until now, Senate Democrats have filibustered every attempt by the GOP majority to strip out funding for the White House's order to begin processing an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants, refusing to even allow the measure to be debated on the Senate floor.
Perry said that voters in November "put their put their trust and their vote in the Republican Party and those Senate candidates, and now with the Senate firmly in Republican control, Harry Reid is still running the table."
While Reid's caucus is "the prime issue," it's on McConnell and his team to do what is necessary to break the stalemate and stop DHS from carrying out the president's unconstitutional order, said Perry.
"And if it means changing 40 years of protocol and pomp and circumstance, so be it," he said.
Obama has said he would veto any DHS budget bill that limits his executive orders on immigration, and is demanding what he and his supporters have called a "clean" DHS funding bill.
"Let's define a clean bill," said Perry. "A clean bill is a bill that funds the department, it allows it to have all of its functions, and the one thing that some people don't like about it is, it does not allow the president
to spend any money on an illegal action that the courts have even sided with the House of Representatives on.
"It's a bill that funds everything lawfully," he said. "That is the clean bill."
But he acknowledged that Obama succeeded in "reversing the story and of course you have, as usual, an-all-too-willing mainstream media there to support him. That's what people are really hearing.
"It's not the truth," said Perry, "but a lot of people don't have the time to go out and figure out what the truth is."
Perry said a DHS shutdown won't immediately put the country in greater peril because most DHS employees — "great people," he said — will still have to report to work.
He added that shutdown or no, "People have been coming across our borders and staying for years, and of course this president has only increased that situation."
Perry also criticized a proposal by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to effectively ban M855 ammunition
by reclassifying it as "armor piercing" and not primarily intended for sporting and hunting use.
"This is a celebrity president who's interested in his ideology, and if he can't get it in one way, he's going to get it another," said Perry.
"You might have weapons in your house or in your possession, but if you can't get any ammunition for it, it is worthless. That's exactly what he wants," he said. "As usual, he's an ideologue and the law-abiding citizen is the one that's going to suffer, not the criminal."
Perry said still another example of agencies run amok is the Department of Treasury refusing to explain to Rep. Paul Ryan, House Budget Committee chairman, $3 billion in Affordable Care Act payments
that Congress apparently did not authorize.
"It's part and parcel of the fourth branch of government … the regulatory agencies [becoming] too big, too unwieldy and non-responsive to their bosses, which are the American people," said Perry.
"This is nothing new; it's just getting worse," he said, adding that "the American people absolutely need to get engaged — not only demand representation of the Congress to force these issues, but also demand representation … at the presidential level to say, 'This is unacceptable.'"
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