Congressional strategy on Immigration, Keystone, Obamacare & other issues

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from NCPA,

Immigration. The House of Representatives voted 236-191 this week to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the rest of the fiscal year. This remaining appropriations bill was left out of last year’s so-called “Cromnibus” funding bill because Republicans wanted to use their new Senate and House majorities to deny funding for the President’s unilateral actions that provide amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. The House measure not only bars funding for the President’s actions, it defunds the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Twenty-six Republicans opposed the amendment to defund DACA, a program that defers immigration action against some illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States before their 16th birthday. The measure now heads to the Senate where support for the immigration provisions is uncertain.

Keystone. A bipartisan 63-32 vote in the Senate advanced the Keystone pipeline bill one step closer to passage. The bill would authorize the construction of a pipeline to transport oil from Canada to Texas. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has ensured an open legislative process that allows Senators to offer amendments to the bill. Dozens of amendments are expected. For instance, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is offering an amendment to lift the ban on crude oil exports, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is offering an amendment about the existence of climate change.

Obamacare repeal. Congressional Republicans are exploring whether to use the budget reconciliation process to repeal Obamacare. Budget reconciliation is a complicated procedural tool that allows Congress to make sweeping budgetary changes without risking a Senate filibuster. Using the budget reconciliation process would ensure the bill reaches the President desk, where he would presumably veto it. Congressional Republicans are also exploring whether to use the budget reconciliation for something that President Obama might sign, such as a tax reform bill.

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