WASHINGTON — The $1.1 trillion “CRomnibus” passed the U.S. Senate Saturday night, concluding an usually active day of of political maneuvering by dissenting senators on both ends of the political spectrum. The bill, which got its name because it combined an omnibus of 11 appropriations bills to fund the government through next September with a continuing resolution (CR) funding the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 27, passed on a final vote of 56-40.
Both of Alabama’s senators voted against the bill, citing its funding of the president’s executive action on immigration as the primary reason.
“While I support funding the government, as well as several conservative priorities and provisions important to Alabama in the omnibus, I opposed the overall bill,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). “The omnibus fails to properly address President Obama’s action to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants through executive fiat. I remain firmly opposed to providing amnesty to those who have broken our laws and I stand ready to fight against the President’s executive overreach when Republicans control both the House and the Senate next Congress.”
Shelby was, however, one of the architects of the appropriations portion of the CRomnibus, and noted that while he did not support the full bill, he was pleased to see several items of particular importance to Alabama’s economy included in the legislation.
In addition to the three Alabama-built Littoral Combat Ships that were previously included in President Obama’s budget, the CRomnibus included an additional $80 million, which Shelby said will allow for “long-lead procurement in order to maintain shipyard capacity and cost savings.” The bill also contained $200 million over and above the President’s Budget Request for an additional Alabama-built Joint High Speed Vessel. Both ships are made at the Port of Mobile by Austal USA.
“This bill funds defense-related programs that play a vital role in providing our nation’s military with the resources that they need to strengthen our national security,” said Shelby. “I am pleased that this bill includes funding to enhance Alabama’s national defense capabilities and continue our state’s commitment to serving our armed forces.”
Sessions spent most of the day demanding a vote on language to block funds for the implementation of the President’s “illegal and unconstitutional amnesty.” Although his efforts ultimately fell short on Saturday, his consistent and articulate arguments against the President’s executive actions will continue to impact the debate going into the next sessions of Congress when Republicans will control both the House and Senate.
“Who is looking out for American workers?” an exasperated Sessions rhetorically asked on the Senate floor. “Who is looking out for their interests, fighting to help them get better jobs and pay, working to help their communities climb out of poverty? The immigration debate in our nation’s capital is always centered on the needs of illegal immigrants, foreign workers, or large employers. Isn’t it time, after decades of open immigration, to focus on how we can help Americans?”
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— Cliff Sims (@Cliff_Sims) December 3, 2014