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Congressman: Jeff Sessions Swayed 'Half Dozen or So' Members to Oppose GOP's Original Border Bill

12:58 PM, Aug 1, 2014 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Some Democrats and members of the media are pointing to Texas senator Ted Cruz as the person who convinced enough GOP congressman to sink the House GOP's original border crisis legislation on Thursday. But the honor (or blame, depending on your point of view) really belongs to Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama

Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama told THE WEEKLY STANDARD that Sessions' statement opposing the bill on Tuesday swung the votes of "a half dozen or so" members of Congress from leaning "yes" to whipping "no" on the bill. "He was able to illuminate flaws in the legislation that nobody knew," said Brooks. If the bill was indeed just four votes shy of a majority, as Rep. Kay Granger of Texas claimed, then Sessions' opposition was decisive.

Ted Cruz (like Sessions) has met with House members to discuss immigration legislation, and he also crafted a bill that intends to prevent the president from unilaterally granting amnesty to more illegal immigrants. But there doesn't seem to be any indication that Cruz actually persuaded undecided members to oppose the GOP's original border bill.

"I've never heard Ted Cruz ask anyone to oppose the bill," said Brooks, who met with House members and Cruz on Wednesday night to discuss immigration legislation. "Jim Bridenstine said yesterday that Ted Cruz asked him to vote for the bill." 

After delaying a vote on their border bill Thursday, House Republicans are now planning to hold a vote on two separate bills. The first bill would tweak language amending the 2008 anti-trafficking law that has been used to grant special treatment to minors arriving illegally from Central America (the new language, according to Congressman Brooks, is H.R. 5143). The second bill would attempt to deny the president funds to legalize the status of illegal immigrant minors, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA.

"The current plan is to have a rule that would allow us to skip the normal 72-hour notice process, vote on it today, and you would have a border bill--about half of which is new--followed by a vote on a DACA bill, that is the Cruz bill with some modifications that need to be scrutinized," Brooks said. "I don't know if they have the votes to pass the DACA bill or not." 

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