Democrats threw up a roadblock today when they filibustered a GOP bill that would fund the Department of Homeland Security while neutering years’ worth of Obama Administration policies favoring deportation amnesty.

As I said earlier today, GOP leadership had to have known this was coming. The Dems have been apoplectic over Republican challenges to executive amnesty ever since they lost the majority, so a challenge to this aggressive change in policy is no surprise.

What is surprising is how one of the Senate’s most aggressive members addressed the possibility that the House bill would fail to make it to a vote.

Via National Review:

Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Senator Susan Collins (R., Maine) argued during a Senate GOP lunch that if Democrats filibuster the Department of Homeland Security funding bill — which blocks implementation of Obama’s 2012 deferred action program and his November 2014 “adult amnesty” — Republicans should respond by blocking only the 2014 orders. The thinking, according to a GOP senator who was in the lunch, is that Senate Democrats will have a harder time staying unified for a filibuster if Republicans have a narrower focus.

“What I have said for months now is the central focus of Republicans should be stopping President Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty,” Cruz tells National Review Online when asked to confirm the details of his case. “That’s what Republican candidates promised the voters in November and that’s the promise we need to fulfill.”

That’s…new. And huge.

Back in January, Senator Cruz released a glowing statement, praising the House bill and its amnesty defunding provisions, saying that it was up to the Senate “to take up the House bill, preserving those key provisions, and send it to the President…”

What happened?

Senator Collins’ statement offers some clarity, but still doesn’t explain Cruz’s 180:

Collins does not share Cruz’s antipathy for the 2012 program, but she told reporters that the 2014 orders are obviously unconstitutional.

“The 2014 order is not even a close call,” she says. “It is so broad in its reach that the president himself said, more than 20 times, that he didn’t have the authority to take the kind of action that is included in the 2014 order.”

The 2014 order is obviously a much easier sell because Republicans have managed to keep it in the news cycle, both as a stand-alone issue and in connection with DHS funding; but how many times has the GOP been in this position of having the option to address Obama’s terrible policies incrementally and seen resistance from the more conservative wing of the caucus?

Cruz’s idea isn’t terrible at all—getting rid of terrible policy is obviously a priority, even if we do have to manage the rollback incrementally—but it’s a huge departure from his usual tactics. What changed? Nobody expected this thing to be a one-and-done funding fight; so why not maintain form (alongside unlikely allies like Collins!), hit back hard, and defend the full bill, instead of ripping it up after one, predictable filibuster?

I imagine conservative members in the House are asking themselves the same question.


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