Senate rejects ban on allowing former illegal immigrants healthcare benefits

“My amendment would simply say if you are here illegally and then get lawful status, you do not qualify for ObamaCare and Medicaid,” Sessions said ahead of the vote early Saturday morning.

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Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) offered a counter amendment that restated current law, which says undocumented people cannot receive federal benefits. His amendment passed by voice vote.

“Current law already explicitly excludes undocumented people from receiving benefits,” Menendez said. “This is not a great way to do your outreach to the Hispanic and immigrant community.”

Sessions said he wasn’t worried about current law, he was concerned that if Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform later this year, that illegal immigrants who are able to apply for citizenship or get some form of amnesty would then be able to use federal health benefits, costing taxpayers’ money.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) voted with Democrats against Sessions’s amendment.


The Senate also voted on the following budget amendments:

- Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) amendment 706, to ensure that carbon emission standards be cost effective, passed by voice vote.

- Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) amendment 359, to prohibit Environmental Protection Agency funding for greenhouse gas regulations, failed 47-52.

- Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) amendment 696, would direct the Department of Justice that no financial institution is “Too Big To Jail” and recommends prosecution when a crime is committed, passed by voice vote.

- Sen. Pat Roberts amendment 187, to prohibit the use of funds for promotional or marketing materials promoting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, failed on voice vote.

- Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) amendment 619, to encourage more wise coordination for flood loss mitigation programs, passed by voice vote.

- Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) amendment 152, to provide reconciliation instructions to the Judiciary Committee reduce the deficit by $63.8 trillion over 10 years through medical malpractice reform, failed 43-56.