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Bilirakis Statement on Department of Homeland Security Funding

March 3, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), released the following statement on funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the President’s Executive Action on immigration:

“Months ago, the House of Representatives passed legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security, yet Senate Democrats, led by Minority Leader Harry Reid, on four separate occasions, voted to block debate on the legislation. And even after the Senate passed its own DHS funding bill, Senate Democrats refused to work with the House to reconcile differences in the two bills.

Last week I voted for short term funding mechanisms in the hopes Democrats would abandon partisanship, come to the table and negotiate with Republicans.  I underestimated the Senate Minority Leader’s resolve to undermine the institution and the Constitution. At every turn, Harry Reid and Senate Democrats refused to compromise, blocked, and filibustered. Despite the fact that in 2013, Senator Reid said, ‘We aren’t afraid to resolve our differences in a Conference Committee,’ he apparently changed his mind and refused to come to the table,” said Bilirakis.

“As a grandson of Greek immigrants, I have a firsthand understanding of the importance and power of the American dream, as well as the sensitivity and passion surrounding immigration reform, but I also know that we are a nation guided by the rule of law and not the rule of one man. President Obama himself said over 20 times that he does not have the authority to take the Executive Action he ultimately took. In the President’s own words: ‘That’s not how our democracy functions.’

“The President cannot write the laws. That is why I supported amendments to completely defund the Obama Administration’s Executive Actions in the past, and voted no on this legislation today. I could not, in good conscience, vote for a bill that did not defund the President’s Executive Action,” Bilirakis continued.

“That said, a federal court has halted the President’s Executive Action. As the case will surely be appealed, it is my hope that the courts, the third branch of government, will ultimately stop the President’s actions.”

On January 8, Congressman Bilirakis cosigned a letter to Speaker Boehner urging him to take action in the 114th Congress to stop the President’s overreach.