Pelosi Floor Remarks in Opposition to the DeSantis Amendment to House Republicans’ Dangerous Homeland Security Bill

January 14, 2015
Speech
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the House floor today in opposition to Representative DeSantis’ amendment to the Republicans’ dangerous Homeland Security Bill.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

“Thank you, Madam Speaker.  I thank the gentlelady for yielding, and thank her for her exceptional leadership, and that of the Ranking Member of the full Committee, Mr. Conyers, and the work of your staff to bring the facts to the floor on this subject.

“I rise in opposition to all of these amendments, for reasons that I spelled out for half-an-hour last night, not to go into them again.  But I want to just say how disconcerting it is, after we have seen the President act with authority in the law – under the law – and also according to precedent of every President, Democratic and Republican, since President Eisenhower.

“That’s why it’s very disturbing to see the Speaker of the House saying that ‘President Obama has cemented his legacy of lawlessness.’  ‘Legacy of lawlessness.’  That’s just simply not – was President Reagan lawless?  Was President George Herbert Walker Bush lawless?  Was President George W. Bush lawless?  I never heard him say that about any executive actions taken by them.

“I rise in opposition to all of these amendments, but specifically to the DeSantis amendment, [with] opposition contained in a letter from the [United States] Conference of Catholic Bishops.  On behalf of the Bishops, they write to ask that we oppose ‘immigration-related amendments’ to the bill.

“Specifically to DeSantis, they say: ‘Representative DeSantis’s immigration amendment,’ the Bishops say, ‘would prevent DHS from implementing its memoranda setting civil immigration enforcement priorities.  While presented as a measure that helps domestic violence victims, we fear that it actually would discourage many such victims from reporting abuse.  Immigrants face obstacles to reporting crimes that have been perpetrated against them.  This amendment would perpetuate this problem.’

“So I urge our colleagues to vote ‘No’ on all of the amendments, call to their attention the letter from the Bishops urging a ‘No’ vote on the amendments, and submit it for the record.  And again, I say what is disturbing about this – we can have a difference of opinion about immigration, or this or that – [is] to describe the President as lawless, to use the Constitution as the basis for this debate, when in fact the courts have upheld the rights of our presidents to take executive action in relationship to protecting immigrants in our country – every president, Democratic and Republican, from President Eisenhower to the President.

“I urge a ‘No’ vote on all of the amendments, particularly, in this case, the DeSantis amendment, and submit the Bishop’s letter for the record in opposition to those amendments.  And I yield back."