The beauty of the United States Senate is that almost any subject can be brought up on the floor at any time. For two Republican Senators, the time is now for a debate on efforts to block the Arizona immigration law.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) have introduced an amendment to a small business bill on the Senate floor that would block the federal government from bringing lawsuits against the Arizona law, which takes effect on July 29.
"States like Arizona shouldn't be prosecuted for protecting their citizens when the federal government fails to do so," said DeMint in a joint statement.
"The federal government is rewarding illegal behavior and encouraging many more to enter our nation illegally when they refuse to enforce our laws."
"The Obama administration should not use taxpayers' money to pay for these lawsuits that the American people overwhelmingly oppose," said Vitter.
One of the Washinton, D.C. phrases to live by is that Congress does have the "power of the purse" when it comes to the Executive Branch.
The President's budget has to go through the House and Senate, and the work of the various federal agencies depend on Capitol Hill as well.
Back when we used to have true, freewheeling debates on all appropriations bills in the House and Senate, these type of amendments would come up routinely, as a way to stop an administration from doing certain things.
While Vitter and DeMint hope for a vote next week in relation to their amendment, it might not be so simple.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has "filled the tree" on that bill with amendments to prevent Republicans from offering any changes dealing with this issue, federal estate taxes and more.
But it wouldn't surprise me one bit to see this type of effort used a number of times by Republicans to make their point on the Arizona immigration law, as the GOP tries to put Democrats on the record and on defense.