With Senate Democrats effectively blocking the House bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and deny money for immigration action, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks has suggested that the GOP take a page out of the Democrat’s own playbook and eliminate filibusters for spending bills, The Hill
Brooks wants Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to invoke the "nuclear option," which would change Senate rules so that instead of the required two-thirds supermajority vote, spending bills would need only a simple majority to advance.
In 2013, then Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked the nuclear option
to eliminate Senate filibusters for most executive nominees.
"(Reid) said, I’m not going to let the filibuster stop me from achieving my political goals, and he exercised the nuclear option, and now under Harry Reid, you did not need 60 votes for appointments of Barack Obama-submitted appointees," Brooks said. "Rather, a mere majority would work.
"Well, if Harry Reid and the Democrats can do that, if they can stand up for those beliefs, however wrong those beliefs may be, then where is our Republican Senate leadership? And why aren’t they doing the same thing?
"We have 54 Republican senators. Mitch McConnell, last time I checked, is the Senate Republican Majority Leader. All of our Senators have said they object to executive amnesty. Why don’t they do the same thing in respect to bills we have to pass to prevent government shutdowns — bills dealing with spending matters — [and] say only 51 votes is needed?"
Brooks continued: "No longer can a minority with a filibuster shut down the United States government.
"And so with that, Mr. Speaker, I would submit that it’s time for the United States Senate to change their rules to reflect the will of the American people, and certainly if those rules can be changed for mere appointments by a president, they can also be changed to protect the United States Constitution and the separation of powers."
The Senate has voted three times to proceed to the House-passed DHS funding bill "with the language to freeze President Obama's immigration actions," but has come up short of the 60-vote threshold required, according to The Hill.
The nuclear option is a parliamentary procedure that allows the Senate to override a rule or precedent by majority vote if the chamber’s presiding officer rules that the validity of a Senate rule or precedent is a constitutional question.
Obama’s order has been called unconstitutional by conservatives, an opinion shared by at least one federal judge, who in a December court ruling found that Obama’s actions violated the separation of powers called for in the Constitution, according to Fox News
The order was tantamount to the executive branch "legislating," U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Schwab of Pennsylvania ruled.
Schwab’s decision was part of the criminal case involving an illegal immigrant from Honduras, apprehended in the U.S. last year after having been previously deported in 2005.
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