After almost two months of funding drama, Congress is no closer to resolving the Department of Homeland Security’s funding in a dispute over President Obama’s immigration executive action.
In a Ground Hog-esque day turn of events, we’re right back where we started. Thanks, Democrats.
Speculation that Pelosi and company agreed to support a one week bill because Boehner was considering a “clean” funding bill akin to the Senate, found its way into more than one mainstream media write up of the DHS debacle this weekend.
Because we’d rather not take someone else’s word for it, we inquired independently. This weekend, Speaker Boehner’s office assured us House Republicans had no plans to capitulate to the demands of Senate Democrats. As to the speculation that there was some kind of a deal with Pelosi? “There is no such ‘deal’ or promise,” says Boehner Spokesman Michael Steel.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise echoed the sentiments saying, “There is no such deal and there’s no such bill,” Scalise said on “Fox News Sunday.” “On Friday, there was a bill on the House floor to pass a clean funding bill. We rejected that because we said we’re fighting the president on what he’s doing illegally on immigration,” according to The Hill.
“We are not giving in to Senate Democrats’ blackmail,” Boehner said, “Will keep fighting Obama’s unilateral action on immigration to protect Constitution.”
Sunday, Speaker Boehner explained the House Republican’s position on Face the Nation where he said:
“The promise I made to Ms. Pelosi is the same promise I made to Republicans, that we would follow regular order. You know, the bill is back in the Senate. We’ve asked for a conference with the Senate. And, the Senate Majority Leader at the time, in May of 2013, said, and I quote, ‘we aren’t afraid to try resolve our differences in a conference committee. This has been the custom of the Senate and the House of Representatives for almost 200 years.’ We want to go to conference with the Senate.”
Across the board, Republicans agree that 1) DHS should be funded (Coast Guard and immigration enforcement all fall under DHS, after all) 2) they must do everything in their power to stop Obama’s executive overreach.
With a temporary injunction placed on Obama’s Executive Overreach, some Republicans believe it politically expedient to move forward with a “clean” funding bill, particularly when a DHS shutdown will not stop, bend, halt, or alter the President’s immigration order. Still others are demanding Congressional action (as much as Congress is able to do, anyway) that directly addresses the latest immigration order and see DHS as a bargaining chip.
DHS though, is by no fault of its own right smack in the middle of a nasty game of tug of war. Almost all DHS employees are deemed ‘essential’ and would be immune to a shut down if one occurred. But shutting down DHS won’t stop the President’s Executive Order. So why fight over it?
Using DHS as leverage ensures the President’s egregious executive expansion remain in the headlines and force Democrats to defend the practice of solitary lawmaking from the Oval Office.
Since the fifth circuit has yet to decide definitively on the President’s Constitutional shred fest, why forfeit the only collateral available? Keep giving the Democrats rope. Particularly when they’re quite literally insisting on removing all road blocks to a law who’s implementation would be illegal. If Democrats want to make illegal amnesty their battle cry, let them scream until they’re hoarse.
Last night, Senate Democrats yet again, blocked efforts to go to conference. The Hill reports:
But Democrats vowed repeatedly to block any attempt to go to conference, arguing the Congress should approve a clean bill funding the agency — without immigration measures attached.
Senate Republicans don’t have the 60 votes necessary to overcome the filibuster.
“This push by House Republicans to go to conference is the very definition of an exercise in futility,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said from the Senate floor. “They want to turn it into something that cannot pass. … We will not be a party to yet another charade by House Republicans.”
How the two sides will reach an agreement by the end of Friday to fund the DHS and avoid a shutdown is unclear, though House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters Monday that House Democrats expect Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring a clean funding bill to the floor this week.
In one gianormous game of chicken, Democrats are banking on the House Republicans to fold like their Senate counterparts, who finally passed a “clean” funding bill. Why should Republicans give them what they want? Republicans hold majorities in the House and Senate, after all.
It’s time to call the Democrat’s bluff. No “clean” funding bill. No surrendering to the petulant cries of obstructionists. If Democrats insist on pitching a fit, let them. The pathetic decision to block discussion every.single.time. is one that deserves a swift kick in the pants. If the temper tantrums are allowed to persist without repercussion now, then temper tantrums are what we will see for the duration of the term. Enough is enough.
Get your game face on, House Republicans. We’re counting on you.
I’ll preface this by saying I believe Boehner is in an awful spot and is seldom given the credit he deserves. According to Politico, Boehner announced the House will vote on the Senate’s “clean” funding bill later today. Suggesting Senate Republicans are to blame, Boehner said Senate Republicans, “never found a way to win this fight.” And he’s right.
Speaker John Boehner announced that the House will vote Tuesday on the Senate’s bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, a move that could enrage some conservatives but end the impasse over the agency’s funding.
“I am as outraged and frustrated as you at the lawless and unconstitutional actions of this president,” Boehner said to a closed meeting Republicans, in reference to President Barack Obama’s changes to the enforcement of immigration laws, according to a source in the room. “I believe this decision – considering where we are – is the right one for this team, and the right one for this country. The good news is that the president’s executive action has been stopped, for now. This matter will continue to be litigated in the courts, where we have our best chance of winning this fight.”
Boehner received a standing ovation, according to a source in the weekly Republican meeting. The decision shows that Boehner is refusing to be hamstrung by a pocket of conservatives who blocked the bill last week and that he will, instead, work with both parties to fund the agency through the remainder of the fiscal year.
The stalemate came after Obama’s decision to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The House tried to gut those provisions, but the Senate was not able to get their bill through the chamber. Congress last week passed legislation to fund DHS through Friday.
Boehner (R-Ohio) told the closed gathering of Republicans that another short-term bill would not pass the House and said that Senate Republicans “never found a way to win this fight.”
“The three-week CR we offered would have kept this fight going and allowed us to continue to put pressure on Senate Democrats to do the right thing,” Boehner said in the meeting. “Unfortunately, that plan was rejected.”
A DHS shutdown, Boehner said, would be dangerous to national security.
“With more active threats coming into the homeland, I don’t believe that’s an option,” he said. “Imagine if, God forbid, another terrorist attack hits the United States.”
It’s hard to disagree with any reason Boehner gave for the sudden change of course, but the problem here lies in the fact that he promised otherwise. Senate Republicans caved, leaving Boehner in an impossible situation… Friday. So we’re left to wonder why House Republicans carried on as though they were armed and ready for battle, only to hoist the white flag this morning.
Whether using DHS funding as leverage was a miscalculation from the get go, or whether the Senate Republicans shoved House Republicans up the creek without a paddle, I’m not sure. Likely a combination of both, with a heavier dose of the latter, but undoubtedly poor strategy and an embarrassingly failed execution.
Yes, we have a temporary injunction on Obama’s order, but we’re already at least one week into those thirty days. Now at the mercy of the courts, Republicans have no leverage, no guarantee Texas v. United States will roll back Obama’s immigration overreach, and those watching from home have no reason to believe Republicans will make good on their promises when they consistently refuse to go toe to toe with the Democrats.
House Republicans came out swinging and passed a killer DHS appropriations bill, one that hammered enforcement. Taking up a piecemeal approach to immigration enforcement rather than an Omnibus bill is also a strategy that I wholeheartedly endorse. Yet when the House’s only play is to roll over to Senate Democrats, it’s all for naught.
The point is not DHS funding or even that as Boehner accurately pointed out, our best chance of fighting the President’s executive overreach is in the courts. The point is that he did not make good on his promise. To make matters worse, Boehner gift wrapped a (and arguably justified in this instance) “Boehner CAVED!!111” present for his dissenters, carving deeper the establishment v. everyone else striation.
Furthermore, as we discussed above, giving Senate Democrats everything they demand, when they demand seems like a less than stellar way to lead.
What an epic cluster.
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