Yesterday was the 328th day since the Senate passed its bipartisan immigration bill, and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) took to the floor to castigate Republicans for their inaction since then.
Menendez highlighted the moral and economic benefits to passing reform, and wondered why Republicans continue to side with Steve King rather than do the right thing. “Enough is enough,” Menendez cajoled — House Republicans need to get moving on immigration reform, or time will run out for them. Blocking immigration reform and taking votes pushed by Steve King won’t exactly be attractive to Latino voters in 2016 and beyond. So why haven’t Republicans taken action?
Watch Sen. Menendez’s floor speech or read an excerpt below. The full transcript is here.
With all of these economic benefits and the tremendous human suffering at stake, what are we waiting for? We’re waiting for the House leadership to stand up to their caucus.
We’re waiting for Speaker Boehner to schedule a vote.
We’re waiting for reason to prevail – for our Republican friends in the other body to once and for all do what’s right and think about the cost of inaction – not only in dollars and cents – but in the lives of families and the future of this nation.
We’re waiting for the Speaker to stop letting the most radical voices – like Stephen King – dictate the future of immigration reform.
Mr. Boehner himself has publicly denounced King for his, and I quote, “hateful language.” Yet the only, the only immigration-related votes that the Speaker of House of Representatives has allowed in the past year was for radical proposals to end DACA and deport our nation’s DREAMers.
It is time for Speaker Boehner to stand up for the majority of the Republican Party and remove Steve King’s undeserved carte blanche on immigration policy.
M. President, if we had a vote in the House, this bill would pass. It would pass today.
We have the votes in the House to pass the Senate bill, we just don’t have the will of the Republican leadership behind a bill that reduces the deficit, increases the GDP, and creates jobs – and I can’t for the life of me understand why they won’t act.
Considering there are enough votes in the House to pass the Senate bill and send it to the President, we deserve action. 11 million people deserve – at the very least – the political courage to face-down the extreme minority and do what’s right and govern from the common-sense center.
Time is not on our side. There is a limited window of opportunity.
We only have about another month for the Speaker to act. So it is in the Speaker’s hands.
Does he want reform or doesn’t he?
Speaker Boehner is questioning the President’s commitment to enforce the law, even as the Administration is deporting more people than the Bush administration.
The Administration has deported almost 2 million people!
By saying the President isn’t enforcing enough, the Speaker is really arguing for more deportations and has done nothing to stop the deportations.
The only conclusion we can draw is that my friends on the other side support the current dysfunctional system. And they do so, at the cost of the country. They do so at a cost to families. And they do so at a cost to their own political futures.
The road to the White House goes through the barrio, as my friend in the other body, Rep. Luis Gutierrez says. Their own futures are at risk.
But more importantly, our country is at risk – a risk that we’ll hinder our own economic growth and leave millions in the shadows as second class citizens. A risk that deportations will continue to tear parents away from their infants, despite the parents desperately seeking to register, get right with the law and pay their taxes. A risk that we won’t address one of the greatest civil rights issues of our time.
M. President, not only are Republicans tone-deaf to the priorities of the nation’s fastest and largest-growing minority, but they are ignoring the will and interests of their own party, and acting against their own stated goal of reducing the deficit.
They keep finding excuses for inaction. There are no excuses. Enough is enough! Enough is enough!
I call on my colleagues in the other body: Do what’s right and help us govern. Enough is enough!