The Senate voted along party lines Saturday morning to reject an amendment sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a potential 2024 White House candidate, to block $1,400 stimulus checks from going to undocumented immigrants.
The amendment failed by a vote of 49 to 50, with a slim majority of the Senate voting against it.
Eight Democrats had voted for a similar amendment sponsored by Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), another White House hopeful, early last month during a debate on the Senate budget resolution. However, the Democratic caucus stayed unified on Saturday in defeating the Republican amendment.
All Republicans voted for it.
“This amendment before us today provides that the stimulus checks should not go to illegal aliens in this country,” Cruz said while introducing the amendment. “The question for the American people to answer is, ‘Should your money, should taxpayer money be sent, $1,400, to every illegal alien in America?’”
Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) slammed the measure while accusing Cruz of exaggerating the flow of stimulus payments to undocumented immigrants. He pointed out that the pending $1.9 trillion COVID-relief bill treats payments to families with undocumented immigrant members the same way as the $900 billion relief bill passed by the then-GOP controlled Senate in December and signed into law by then-President Trump.