Congress argued until about two hours before the deadline Friday night to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It was fun to watch if you enjoy politics. If you don’t enjoy politics, then you would probably compare it to a root canal.
The approved funding is only good for one week, so the soap opera may play out again later this week. Keep your Friday evening open…
Overall, it was not a good showing by the Republicans. They have the majorities in the House and Senate, but are so divided that they could not pass a three-week extension. They played a game of chicken with the Democrats, and lost.
The problem with the DHS bill is that Republicans wanted to attach language to the bill that would defund the President’s “executive order to shield several million illegal immigrants from deportation.” The Senate could not pass the bill with the executive order language in it; the House did pass it.
A federal district court judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction on the executive actions which gave the Republicans some momentum, but that still did not stop them from messing it up.
The Democrats had their own problem with this little victory. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) sent an e-mail early Saturday morning saying, “Republicans forced a shutdown of Homeland Security. It started at MIDNIGHT last night.”
A few hours later, the DCCC sent another e-mail:
We screwed up.
According to our records, we sent you an email this morning that you weren’t supposed to receive. Homeland Security did NOT shut down last night.
Back in February, I wrote:
The way it is supposed to work is that the House would pass a bill and the Senate would pass a bill dealing with the same issue. If there are differences in the bills, a conference committee would be formed with members from each chamber to work out the differences in the two bills.
It does not look like going to conference will make a difference.
The bottom line is that Americans are growing very tired of Congress acting like children.
The Republicans have not been the leaders that we thought they would be so far in this Congress. They are lacking strong leadership from Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The best way for the GOP to get past this mess is to retreat and pass a clean bill. They can then vote on not funding the executive order in a separate bill to get people on record.
One other thing the GOP should look at is finding leaders who will not lead them into a massacre.