The House rejected a provision Thursday that would have allowed illegal immigrant “Dreamers” to enlist in the military.
The lower chamber voted 221 to 202 to not add the Dreamer language in a comprehensive defense spending bill. All of the ‘no’ votes came from the GOP, though 20 Republicans crossed the aisle to vote for the measure, The Washington Times reported.
“It makes no sense to me that, at the same time the Army is downsizing and issuing pink slips to American soldiers serving in Afghanistan, there are Congressmen who seek to help illegal aliens deprive American citizens and lawful immigrants of military service opportunities,” Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said in a statement after the vote. Brooks led the charge against against the language:
I’m pleased the House chose to stand up for American citizens and protect the Constitutional duty of Congress to set immigration law.
Today’s vote was the fourth rejection of the President’s unconstitutional DACA program, with Republicans overwhelmingly standing up for the will of the American people and the citizens and lawful immigrants who want to serve our country.
The language was presented by Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., a former Marine who served in Iraq. While he acknowledged the measure had little chance of clearing the Republican-controlled House, he attacked his opponents in a press release Thursday:
DREAMers are talented and patriotic; they are Americans in every way except on paper, and our country would benefit from having them as part of our Armed Forces.
The strength of our military isn’t just measured by the size of our arsenal or by the sophistication of our weapons but by the quality of our people. I would have been proud to serve beside these young men and women.
“This is yet another example of an anti-immigrant attitude on the part of House Republicans,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi,” D-Calif. The $612 billion defense bill was approved 269 to 151 Friday. The Hill breaks down the details of the bill:
The bill keeps ceilings on defense spending in place under the 2011 budget deal that introduced sequestration spending limits, but would increase funding to the Pentagon’s war fund.
The legislation authorizes roughly $523 billion in base Defense Department spending. Another $90 billion is included in the war fund, formally known as the Overseas Contingency Operations fund.
It includes $38 billion more for the war fund than had been requested by the White House. The extra spending is not offset by spending cuts or tax hikes.
The White House also opposes language in the bill meant to prevent the closing of Guantanamo Bay.
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