If there was a theme to Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s 2012 campaign to the U.S. Senate it was the idea that she is a pragmatic leader who would help cut through obstruction in Washington D.C. to get things done. On her still-active campaign website Heitkamp said there are “too many extreme politicians in Washington” who hold the country “hostage to advance their narrow political agenda.”
But all that happened back when Democrats controlled the Senate. The Heidi Heitkamp who is a member of the Senate’s minority party feels much differently about the filibuster. Tonight, in fact, she voted for the fifth time to continue a filibuster of the Department of Homeland Security funding bill which Republicans want to use as a vehicle to block President Barack Obama’s executive order on illegal immigration.
To be clear about what’s happening here, the Senate hasn’t actually voted on or even debate the actual bills the House is sending them. Heitkamp and her fellow liberals won’t even allow debate to begin on the House bills.
So this isn’t a matter of the House sending the Senate poison pill legislation they can’t pass. Multiple Senate Democrats, including Heitkamp herself, have expressed opposition to President Obama’s executive order.
Here’s what Kevin Cramer had to say about it in a statement tonight:
“I am disappointed to see the Senate Democrats continue to filibuster funding for DHS. I urge them to reconsider their actions and join the House of Representatives in a Conference Committee to find a compromise on our different bills. The Democrats who criticized President Obama’s executive actions on immigration should begin to live up to their words and vote to end this filibuster. It is sad to see the President’s actions poisoning bipartisanship in the Congress.”
What obstructionist Democrats are afraid of is that if they let debate begin on the House version of legislation they’ll have to go on the record on the executive order, and the legislation might even pass.
That’s a remarkable position for Heitkamp to be aligning herself given how she postured herself to get elected to the Senate in the first place.
Again, let’s go back to Heitkamp was saying about this sort of thing during her 2012 campaign.
“Heidi says it’s time to put country first, put politics aside and work together to cut government spending, balance the budget, create jobs and get our economy back on track—while protecting North Dakotans,” Heitkamp’s campaign website reads.
“If you come up with the right ideas and you elect people willing to work across the aisle and not engage in partisanship, and if you elect people without seeing everything through ‘blue’ shades or ‘red’ shades, but with (a) clear vision, we can solve these problems,” Bismarck Tribune reporter Nick Smith quoted Heitkamp as saying in an October 2012 article. “The person we send to the United States Senate needs to represent North Dakota, not a political policy.”
“[O]ur leaders in Washington today continue to play political games and get in partisan squabbles on getting the job done,” The Hill quoted Heitkamp as saying in a February 2012 article.
How can the candidate who said all those things be voting for these filibusters?