Could Cruz’s Immigration Move Lead to Shutdown Fight?

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United States Senator Ted Cruz talks with CNN's Dana Bash Thursday, February 20, 2014. (CNN)
United States Senator Ted Cruz talks with CNN’s Dana Bash Thursday, February 20, 2014. (CNN)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Tuesday Congress should “use all means necessary” to prevent President Barack Obama from granting what Cruz considers amnesty to more immigrants who are in the country illegally.

He said it would be “appropriate” to include a provision that would block the President from doing so in a critical government-funding bill that Congress must approve this month.

Democrats immediately seized on the issue and charged that Cruz wants to shut down the government by attaching a “poison pill” to the funding bill, which is known as a continuing resolution or CR. Cruz was at the center of last year’s government shutdown, which Democrats believe did long term damage to the GOP.

“It’s another Ted Cruz hostage situation. Last October he held the entire federal government hostage to his ideology and now he’s willing to do it again,” the chairman of the House Democrats’ campaign arm, Rep. Steve Israel, D-New York told CNN.

Despite Cruz’s tough talk, there appears to be no appetite even among some of the House conservatives who pushed for a confrontation last fall to have a fight on the spending bill this close to the election.

In the Senate, GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said he wouldn’t allow another shutdown to happen.

Still, Israel maintained, “it’s deja vu all over again. In October as they were shutting down the government, they said they wouldn’t shut down the government. They just can’t be trusted.”

House Republicans are expected to vote Thursday on a bill to extend current government-funding levels through December 11.

At issue are GOP concerns the President will expand his use of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which conservatives consider amnesty. That’s because earlier this summer the President vowed to use executive authority to take a number of steps related to immigration since Congress was gridlocked on the issue. The President has since said he won’t take any unilateral action until after the midterm election.

But Cruz said Tuesday Republicans should use “every tool at our disposal” including the CR.

“I think we should use any and all means necessary to prevent the President from illegally granting amnesty. That certainly, I think, would be appropriate to include in the CR,” Cruz said at a news conference. “But I think we should use every — every — tool at our disposal.”

Cruz declined to say if he would vote against the CR unless the provision is in the bill.

“Let’s wait to see what’s in the CR,” Cruz said. “I have a habit of waiting to see what’s in legislation before I make a decision about whether I will support it or not.”

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