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President Obama To Address The Nation On Immigration, Republicans Threaten Shutdown

Image by Chuck Kennedy (Official White House photo) CC FLKR

Image by Chuck Kennedy (Official White House photo) CC FLKR

Today is the day that millions of aspiring Americans have been waiting for. The day when President Obama stands up to Congress and states clearly that if they will not do something to pass meaningful immigration reform then he will do what he can through executive orders.

It was announced last night that the President would make a prime-time address announcing his plans to stop the deportations of millions of aspiring Americans seeking citizenship. He will also stop the ripping apart of families, by stopping the deportation of the parents of children who are legal US Citizens.

A group of immigration lawyers from across the country sent a letter to President Obama citing his legal authority to defer deportations through executive actions.

“Our letter confirms that the administration has specific legal authority to use prosecutorial discretion as a tool for protecting an individual or group from deportation,” said Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar at Penn State Law. “This legal authority served as foundation for prosecutorial discretion policy across several administrations. Historically, this policy has been premised on the twin policy goals of managing limited resources and shielding people with compelling situations from removal.”

“This letter reflects a clear, broad, and informed consensus on two key points,” said Hiroshi Motomura, Susan Westerberg Prager Professor at UCLA School of Law. “First, the president has the legal authority, exercising his discretion as the nation’s top immigration prosecutor, to establish enforcement priorities. Second, the president’s lawful discretion includes the authority to set up an orderly system, modeled on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), for granting temporary relief from deportation.”

“It is well established that the President has the legal authority to end this crisis by granting temporary relief to a broad class of workers,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “It is also equally established that current enforcement of immigration law is at odds with our American vision of a just society and our values of family, hard work and fairness.”

President Obama’s Executive Order would protect nearly 5 million people currently residing in the United States.

Of course the Republicans were quick to respond to the announcement with more threats to harm real Americans if the President takes action without Congress.

“If ‘Emperor Obama’ ignores the American people and announces an amnesty plan that he himself has said over and over again exceeds his Constitutional authority, he will cement his legacy of lawlessness and ruin the chances for Congressional action on this issue — and many others,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.

Senator Marco Rubio who once championed immigration reform in the Senate now is hints of a government shutdown if the President takes executive action on Immigration.

The Des Moines Register reported that Rep Steven King wants to tie executive action on immigration to funding the government.

“If the president wields his pen and commits that unconstitutional act to legalize millions, I think that becomes something that is nearly political nuclear …,” King said. “I think the public would be mobilized and galvanized and that changes the dynamic of any continuing resolution and how we might deal with that.”

King said if that happens, House-passed legislation on border security, including rolling back the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, order, “becomes a requirement” for a continuing resolution.

Over the last six months conservative pundits has indicated that President Obama’s threat to defer action on deportations is unlawful and would warrant everything from a government shutdown to all out impeachment.

The irony of this is that Republicans have already forgotten that their hero, President Ronald Regan, took similar action to provide amnesty to over 3 million undocumented residents.

“The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) gave up to 3 million unauthorized immigrants a path to legalization if they had been “continuously” present in the U.S. since January 1, 1982 (The Hill).

The IRCA was not without issues, forcing the government to deport the immediate family members of those who were covered under the new order.

President George H.W. Bush followed up the IRCA with a “family fairness” policy that would close the loophole in the IRCA in turn protecting another 1.5 million aspiring Americans. The combination of the “family fairness” policy and President Reagan’s executive action provided amnesty to over 40% of the undocumented population living in the United States.

President Obama’s proposal to some seems extreme, however it would cover approximately 40% of the undocumented population currently residing in the United States.

The battle is set to begin tonight as President Obama lays out his plan to help millions of aspiring Americans.

The current government funding extension will expire on December 11th and we will have to wait to see if the Republicans will harm millions of Americans in their opposition to the President by completely shutting down the government.

 

Related Articles:

When Reagan and GHW Bush took bold executive action on immigration.

The American Immigration Council And The AFL-CIO Push For An Executive Order On Immigration

Obama’s Immigration Plan Could Shield Four Million

Senator Cruz Is Not The Only One Who Wants To Shut Down The Government Over The ACA

There are a lot of people talking about the upcoming showdown over the Affordable Care Act and the Continuing Resolution to keep the government running.  Without a budget or a Continuing Resolution the government will be forced to close up shop due to lack of funds.

This has been the subject of many previous debates in the last few years.  It seems that every three to six months Congress is threatening to shut down the government if they do not make significant changes.   Obviously this debate goes both ways.

Right now the debate over the Continuing Resolution (CR) has turned to healthcare, specifically the Affordable Care Act.  The debate over the ACA rages on every day.  Even after the house voted for the 41st time to repeal the ACA it should be obvious that the House is not going to get their way.  That is not stopping them; it is just making them more inventive in their repeal efforts.

The House passed a CR that would keep the government running, except they took out all the funding for the ACA.  They essentially are attempting to defund the ACA and are holding the government hostage to do it.

After they passed the bill it was quickly moved to the Senate.  Then a few Senators took that and ran with it.  Senator Ted Cruz has been all over the news talking about his position to shut the government down if they do not defund the ACA.  Cruz even got up and wasted 21 hours in a pretend filibuster. It was a pretend filibuster because the 21 hours of talking could not have any effect on whether or not a vote is going to be held.  His marathon talking session ended with a unanimous vote (100-0) to end debate and move toward voting on the actual bill.  We should be calling a 21 hour debate speech, because it is by definition not a filibuster.

The irony is that GOP leaders in the House were quick to distance themselves from this scenario.

Rep Peter King (potential GOP candidate for President) said, “He’s not standing on principle, I don’t know what he’s standing on,” King said. “But he’s standing for a strategy that can’t work. It’s going to personally help him as far as his political status, but it’s going to be bad for the county, bad for the Republican Party.”

Wait a second; are they really trying to blame Senator Cruz for holding the country hostage and threatening a government shutdown over the ACA?  Didn’t the bill that Senator Cruz is promoting came from the US House?  That’s right, it did.  Every one of those Reps who voted to repeal the ACA by defunding it, are doing the same thing.  Defund the ACA or we will not pass a CR, which is what you all voted on.

The House was even happy after the passage of the defunding-CR.

The Huffington Post reports, “Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) also took to twitter to vent. “House Republicans are turning words into action to defund #Obamacare. Ball will be in the Senate’s court,” he wrote.”

Yet now they want to distance themselves from shutting the government down because the public is adamantly against a shutdown.   The House GOP cannot get away from the fact that they voted to do what Senator Cruz is advocating for.  The House GOP cannot wiggle their way out of this.

Here is the full list of the Representative who would rather shut the government down if the President does not defund his signature bill.   Don’t let them forget it!

house votes CR 2014 Crop

 

Latest GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare: Texas Senator proposes to shut down Government – and Bully O’Brien equates O’care to slavery

Written  by Matt Murray and Liz Iacobucci

Is anyone keeping track anymore?

These days, it seems that House Republicans vote to delay or repeal the Affordable Care Act – more commonly known as “Obamacare” – on a weekly basis.   I think it’s been 37 times, so far, but I may have missed one or two.

These votes aren’t just an exercise in political theater – they are a waste of taxpayer dollars.  Estimates of exactly how much all these votes have cost taxpayers vary, from $1.45 million to $1.75 million per vote.  But multiply either number by 37 or 38… and gosh, it starts adding up.  (Can’t you think of a few other ways the federal government could spend $50+ million?)

Meanwhile, all around America, “Health Insurers Threaten To Increase Premiums, Even As Profits Soar.” In the coming years though, we can hopefully look forward to the Affordable Care Act making health coverage more affordable. Insurance companies’ overhead is estimated to account for 30 cents of every dollar spent on healthcare.  (Obamacare, you may remember, includes provisions that limit insurance companies’ profits.)

And if Obamacare is repealed, everyone will expect workers to foot the cost of rising insurance premiums – and do you remember how fast those premiums were rising, before Obamacare was passed?

But as of today, it looks like the Crusade to Repeal Obamacare is moving into the Senate.  Today, Texas Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz started making headlines.

Cruz is positioning himself for a possible run for President, and he wants to rally his base by taking an extreme stand on Obamacare.  His plan is to either repeal Obamacare or shut down the government.

“The Texan’s strategy is simple enough. Congress needs to pass a so-called continuing resolution to keep the government running by Sept. 30. Republicans, Cruz argues, should refuse to vote for the measure unless it prohibits spending any federal money on the President’s signature legislative accomplishment. If the stance sparks a shutdown, so be it.”

You heard that right: Senator Cruz is willing to play chicken with the entire country’s economy (and credit rating) in a futile attempt to repeal a law that is already helping millions of Americans – even before it is fully implemented.

This is eerily similar to what happened in August 2011, when House Republicans held the entire country hostage over the debt ceiling.  They almost closed the government and caused the United States to loose our perfect credit rating.

“If we can actually get Republicans to stand up and fight,” Cruz told reporters over Chick-Fil-A sandwiches at a briefing sponsored by the conservative Heritage Foundation, “I believe we can win this fight.”

One bright spot: many Senate Republicans – who have more experience than Sen. Cruz – are standing up to question his plan.

  • Sen. John McCain called him a ‘Wacko Bird’ for suggesting it.

Does Senator Cruz care at all about the American public he has sworn to represent?

Shutting the government down in a temper tantrum over Obamacare will not help the real problems facing Americans right now.  This type of obstructionism is exactly why Congress has the worst approval rating in history.

Why can’t Sen. Cruz take a stand about something that will help Americans like raising the minimum wage, or stopping the cuts to Social Security?

Why can’t House Republicans quit wasting time – and taxpayers’ money – taking their weekly symbolic vote?

Is there something in the water down there in DC, that Republicans keep getting more and more radicalized – and further and further away from the voters they are supposed to represent?

—-

Speaking of “radicalized”… were you looking for another reason to oppose Bill O’Brien’s candidacy for Congress?

Just watch him compare the Affordable Care Act with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850:

(Video courtesy of Granite State Progress read their release)

Like the Republicans already serving in the House, former Speaker O’Brien seems to be thoroughly fixated on repealing Obamacare.

Wonder how many millions of taxpayer dollars he would be willing to waste on symbolic, “unrealistic”, “Wacko Bird” votes in Congress?

—–

And yes, looks like Rep. O’Brien’s unfortunate comparison needs to be added to our growing list of legislators’ statements that have embarrassed New Hampshire in the national press.

Read about Sen. Andy Sanborn’s “plane crash” comment and other “If I offended anyone, I am sorry” remarks here.

And remember that

Gov. Maggie Hassan said the state stands to lose about $1 million in federal funds per day for every day past January 1, 2014, that Medicaid expansion is delayed. “Accepting the $2.5 billion in federal funds available for Medicaid expansion is critical for boosting our economy, transforming our health-care system and providing needed health coverage for tens of thousands of New Hampshire working families,” Hassan said.

 

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