In a late-night vote, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) offered an amendment on Friday to a budget bill passed by the Senate that would have prevented any illegal aliens that receive amnesty from accessing taxpayer-funded healthcare, including Medicaid or subsidized plans provided as part of the Affordable Health Care Act. The amendment was voted down 43-to-56, including being voted down by four Members of the Gang of Eight.
The four GOP Members of the Senate Gang of Eight - Senators Marco Rubio, Jeff Flake, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham - all voted in favor of the amendment. The Democrat Members of the Gang of Eight voted against the amendment, exposing a potential divide between the Gang Members on the issue. In the principles issued by the Gang of Eight in January, the Senators agreed that illegal aliens that receive an amnesty would not be eligible for benefits from the Affordable Health Care Act.
"The core legal and economic principle of immigration is that those seeking admission to a new country must be self-sufficient and contribute to the economic health of the nation," Sen. Sessions said in a press release after the vote. "But, for years, the federal government has failed to enforce this law. This principle is even more urgent when dealing with those who have illegally entered the country.
"Yet today, the Senate Democrat majority voted to extend free and subsidized health care—specifically, Medicaid and Obamacare—to illegal immigrants who would be granted legal status under any comprehensive immigration bill.
"This will dramatically accelerate the insolvency of our entitlement programs and is unfair to American workers and taxpayers.
"The result of today’s vote places immigration reform in jeopardy.”
The vote broke down mostly across party lines, however, GOP Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine both voted against the amendment.