Lead, Follow, or…

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.”

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DHS Funding: A Game of Chicken

Unless Congress acts, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is due to run out of funding in about nine days (February 28).

If DHS isn’t funded, it won’t be the end of the world. There will still be people at the airport to screen passengers and at the border to welcome folks to the good ol’ USA. These people may not be smiling much, because according to several reports those folks are “essential personnel” and they get to stay on the job, but would not receive paychecks.

According to the Washington Post’s editorial board, here is the root of the problem:

The (DHS funding) bill passed by House Republicans would defund Mr. Obama’s executive order to shield several million illegal immigrants from deportation. In the kabuki theater of Congress, the bill has followed a predictable course. It has been taken up three times in the Senate, where it lacks the 60 votes needed to clear procedural hurdles, and three times it has been filibustered by Democrats, just as Mr. Boehner and every other member of Congress knew it would be.

Late Monday another issue came up thanks to a Federal judge:

President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration have been halted temporarily, thanks to a preliminary injunction issued late Monday by a federal district court judge in Texas.

The injunction does not seem to bother the Democrats, probably because they know it won’t last too long.

So, the U.S. House passed a bill, but the U.S. Senate can’t muster the 60 votes needed to pass it because the Democrats won’t go along with the House version to defund the President’s immigration policies. With all that in mind, who will get the blame if DHS shuts down?

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