Democrat Who Left Congressional Hispanic Caucus Wants Back In

Rep. Filemon Vela of Texas left in protest over the proposed border surge.

A view of the US Capitol on January 27, 2014 in Washington.
National Journal
Elahe Izad
Add to Briefcase
Elahe Izad
Feb. 5, 2014, 10:02 a.m.

Rep. Filem­on Vela, who quit the Con­gres­sion­al His­pan­ic Caucus in protest over pro­posed mil­it­ar­iz­a­tion of the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der, wants to re­join, he tells Na­tion­al Journ­al.

Why? “I think my point has been well made,” the Texas Demo­crat said.

Vela’s Ju­ly resig­na­tion from the CHC was a sign of the in­tern­al de­bate tak­ing place among Demo­crats over the Sen­ate im­mig­ra­tion bill, and par­tic­u­larly the $46 bil­lion bor­der-surge amend­ment from Re­pub­lic­an Sens. Bob Cork­er and John Ho­even.

“The reas­on I left was be­cause at that time I felt that there was a move­ment afoot, not just with­in the His­pan­ic Caucus, but here on the en­tire Demo­crat­ic side, to sup­port Cork­er-Ho­even,” said Vela, whose dis­trict in­cludes the bor­der. “I just felt so strongly about the fact that we don’t need more walls, we don’t need to quad­ruple the size of our Bor­der Patrol agency. It was just something I felt I had to do at the time.”

After the Sen­ate im­mig­ra­tion bill passed, CHC Chair­man Rubén Hino­josa said in a state­ment that “the bill they passed is in line with the CHC’s Prin­ciples on Im­mig­ra­tion Re­form and provides all im­mig­rants the op­por­tun­ity to earn cit­izen­ship.” He later em­phas­ized the CHC hadn’t taken an of­fi­cial po­s­i­tion on the Sen­ate bill.

A near car­bon copy of the Sen­ate bill has been in­tro­duced in the House, and has a long list of mostly Demo­crat­ic co­spon­sors. But, not­ably, the Sen­ate bor­der-se­cur­ity amend­ment has been re­placed by one from Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Mi­chael Mc­Caul, which calls for the Home­land Se­cur­ity De­part­ment to first de­vel­op a bor­der plan, sub­ject to con­gres­sion­al ap­prov­al, that would elim­in­ate 90 per­cent of il­leg­al cross­ings with­in five years. The Mc­Caul bill has sup­port from Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans alike.

“The Cork­er-Ho­even amend­ment is, for all prac­tic­al pur­poses, dead,” Vela said.

Vela also wants to re­join the CHC be­cause “every mem­ber of the His­pan­ic Caucus are good friends of mine” and he wants to par­ti­cip­ate in the CHC in­sti­tute’s pro­grams that brings stu­dents to Wash­ing­ton from around the coun­try.

The CHC is set to meet Thursday. At least 60 per­cent of the mem­bers have to vote to ap­prove Vela’s re­ad­mit­tance. There are cur­rently 26 mem­bers.

Will Vela have trouble get­ting back in? “I don’t think so,” he said, adding laugh­ingly, “I haven’t had to lobby for a vote yet.”

What We're Following See More »
TRUMP CONTINUES TO LAWYER UP
Kasowitz Out, John Dowd In
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."

Source:
ALSO INQUIRES ABOUT PARDON POWER
Trump Looking to Discredit Mueller
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.

Source:
INCLUDES NY PROBE INTO MANAFORT
Why Yes, Mueller Is Looking into Trump Businesses
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."

Source:
FIRST TIME SINCE ITS CREATION
House Reauthorizes DHS
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The House voted Thursday to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security. The bipartisan measure passed easily by a vote of 386-41, with nine Republicans and 32 Democrats voting in opposition. If the bill makes it through the Senate, it would be the first-ever reauthorization of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since it was created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks." Among the provisions it contains is a mandate that the Senate confirm the Secret Service director. It also boosts funding for the Urban Area Security Initiative by $195 million per year.

Source:
OPPONENTS SAY SHE SHOULD RESIGN
AFT’s Weingarten Likens Voucher Support to Segregation
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In remarks scheduled to be delivered today at the American Federation of Teachers' summer conference, President Randi Weingarten "likens U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to a climate-change denier" and "says the Trump administration's school choice plans are secretly intended to starve funding from public schools. She calls taxpayer-funded private school vouchers, tuition tax credits and the like 'only slightly more polite cousins of segregation.'" The pro-voucher Center for Education Reform said teachers should "consider inviting Weingarten’s resignation."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login