Presidential hopeful Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised The Senate confirmation process is broken — Senate Democrats can fix it Australian politician on Cruz, vaccines: 'We don't need your lectures, thanks mate' MORE wants to tie a fight over immigration to the fast-track trade legislation currently before the Senate.
The Texas Republican has filed an amendment that would block any trade agreements that “alter or affect any law, regulation, or policy relating to immigration.”
Cruz’s amendment could come up in the debate over fast-track, which if approved would prevent Congress from amending trade deals and force them to be considered in a majority vote.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hopes to finish the fast-track bill by the end of this week but is expected to have to deal with dozens of amendments to the legislation.
Conservative lawmakers have repeatedly warned that Obama could use the Trans-Pacific Partnership to reform immigration.
Cruz’s amendment would block any trade agreements that change immigration laws from being fast-tracked through Congress. Such trade deals could be amended and would be subject to Senate filibusters.
Administration officials, as well as the House Ways and Means Committee, have denied that either fast-track or the Asia-Pacific trade deal would impact immigration laws.
While Cruz said that although he agrees with those leaders, he wants to put those assurances in the legislation.
“I am a strong supporter of free trade, but I cannot support legislation that would allow the president to once again circumvent Congress to enact his own immigration laws,” he said in a statement. “Since the Obama administration has emphatically argued that TPA will not affect immigration, it should support this amendment, which makes that promise explicit.”