Senate GOP ready to split DHS funding and blocking Obama’s amnesty into separate bills?

posted at 11:31 am on February 23, 2015 by Allahpundit

We knew it would come to this. Alternate headline: “Party that promised to avoid shutdowns will avoid shutdown.”

At least we’ll get some entertainment over the next few days from GOP aides trying to convince the media this isn’t a total cave.

Senate Republican leaders are plotting a new strategy that they hope will allow them to prevent a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) next week.

They are considering a plan in which they would split off legislation attacking President Obama’s executive action on immigration from funding for DHS, according to a Senate GOP aide familiar with the discussions.

Senate GOP leaders are also looking at dropping any effort to overturn Obama’s 2012 executive action, which set up the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Polls suggest this program is more popular because it helps illegal immigrants who came to the country as children…

“We would try to have a vote on just that issue,” the aide added. “Does it have to be addressed as part of DHS, or can it be addressed separately? If we can get to that issue and have a vote on that issue, then you come back to DHS appropriations.

The point of the cromnibus in linking DHS funding to blocking Obama’s executive amnesty was to put extra pressure on Senate Dems and Obama to agree to the GOP’s demand. Want Homeland Security (or at least its nonessential agencies) to keep running? Aha! — better join Republicans in undoing O’s immigration action then. Two months later, delinking the funding is supposedly the way to put pressure on Obama and the Dems. Want to force Joe Manchin, Claire McCaskill, and other centrists to take a truly tough vote on all this? Aha! — pass a clean funding bill for DHS, taking that issue off the table, and then present them with a new bill focused squarely on overturning Obama’s November mega-amnesty. You can tell your party’s being run by master strategists when their grand plan for achieving an important goal involves doing the exact opposite of what they wanted to do as recently as six weeks ago. Gonna be a fun two years for the new majority.

But I’m being unfair. Undoing Obama’s amnesty has never been a serious goal: McConnell doesn’t have a prayer of getting the 67 votes he’d need to override an Obama veto absent extraordinary circumstances, and the only extraordinary circumstances that might put pressure on Democrats would require the GOP to take potentially huge political risks. A party willing to stand firm even if it meant a protracted government-wide shutdown might be able to wear O down and wring some concession out of him on immigration, but since Republicans invariably end up being blamed for shutdowns and since they’re desperate not to do anything to spook swing voters given how fragile their majority will be in 2016, they went into this resolved not to stand firm if challenged. This whole cromnibus/DHS/amnesty strategy was essentially just a pander to grassroots conservatives, to put Democrats through their paces of filibustering GOP efforts to repeal amnesty so that Boehner and McConnell could say to the base, “hey, we tried.” Is it worth forcing them to do that anymore? I realize if they hadn’t done it, if they’d caved right from the beginning, they’d be eating tons of crap from border hawks screaming, “You didn’t even try!” But why do that to them when we know the outcome in advance? They don’t have the numbers in the Senate and the White House to get things passed and they’re obviously unwilling to use the power of the purse if it means a politically damaging shutdown. Which means, effectively, they have no leverage at all. Why continue to demand these elaborate pantomimes to the contrary?

Just to ram home the point that the majority’s powerless, McConnell’s going to bring the House bill to the Senate floor for a fourth time today, where it’ll be filibustered by Democrats for a fourth time. That’s the other remaining option for the GOP — nuke the filibuster, pass the House bill with 51 votes, and force Obama to hold up DHS funding on his own by issuing a veto. Lots of smart conservatives like Philip Klein and Fred Bauer have argued recently that nuking the filibuster would be nuts. It’s a crucial brake on big government, getting rid of it won’t achieve anything right now — Obama won’t budge from vetoing a bill that would undo the biggest “achievement” of his second term — and it’ll be exploited by Democrats if/when they reclaim the Senate majority in 2016. Right, but remember that the GOP will almost certainly have a stranglehold on the House until 2020 at a minimum; there’s near-zero chance until the next decade that President Hillary and Senate Dems will be able to enact any legislation on their own, even with a 51-vote majority in the Senate. If anyone has a chance of benefiting from a filibuster-less Senate in the short term (say, the next five years), it’s the GOP. And while it’s true that the filibuster is a useful brake on the federal leviathan, that’s usually but not always a good thing. If the day ever comes where Republicans are ready and willing to reform Medicare, they’ll almost certainly have to do it with fewer than 60 votes. Would you rather dump the filibuster when that moment arrives, when it’ll be cited by screeching liberals as an outrageous changing of the rules mid-stream to advance the GOP’s “kill grandma” agenda, or do it now and have it fully legitimized by the time entitlement reform becomes politically viable?

Nah, just kidding. Entitlement reform will never be politically viable.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Bmore

Schadenfreude on February 23, 2015 at 3:55 PM

Wonder what took so long! Really! The answer is – they don’t want to defund amnesty.

Jpalm32 on February 23, 2015 at 4:02 PM

If Obama use unconstituional executive order to obtain his immigration plan, why can’t the Congress vote on the bill and “deem” it passed. Once there are no rules, whose to say they can’t do it.

parthos on February 23, 2015 at 4:12 PM

All Mitch has to do is change the rule and allow a vote to take place. If the bill was sent to Obama he would have to veto the bill and shut the DHS down. Not so simple for Republicans who back amnesty. We needed a third party after the first Bush. Republicans keep stabbing their voters in the back.

alanstern on February 23, 2015 at 4:20 PM

Lots of smart conservatives like Philip Klein and Fred Bauer have argued recently that nuking the filibuster would be nuts.

It didn’t stop Harry Reid. Republicans are the party of smucks.

alanstern on February 23, 2015 at 4:23 PM

Use reconciliation. It worked for Obamacare.

ezspirit on February 23, 2015 at 5:48 PM

If a federal judge can enjoin Obama from moving forward on amnesty, why can’t he enjoin congress from spending money on it? If he thinks it’s unconstitutional, how can congress subsidize it?

senor on February 23, 2015 at 6:34 PM

Don’t worry guys! Once we elect a Republican House Republican Senate Jeb Bush everything will be fixed lickety-split, you betcha!

Doomberg on February 23, 2015 at 11:36 AM

I have a serious problem with what you said, it’s way too true for a blog post. I am really afraid at what Obama can accomplish with the morons in charge in DC.

bflat879 on February 23, 2015 at 7:01 PM

McConnell could always change the rules to pass this, then change them back.

senor on February 23, 2015 at 7:06 PM

McConnell could always change the rules to pass this, then change them back.

senor on February 23, 2015 at 7:06 PM

He could do that, or use reconciliation….

….if he really wanted to pass the House bill.

Instead, he prefers be on stage at the kabuki theater whinging ‘We’re stuck’.

He really must think the average voter is dumber than a box of rocks.

Athos on February 23, 2015 at 8:01 PM

McConnell thinks like Gruber = DUMB!!!

If he does it, he will ultimately regret it.

Nat George on February 23, 2015 at 8:07 PM

DEFUND the GOP

Senator Philip Bluster on February 23, 2015 at 8:15 PM

This is a budget bill so Mitch doesn’t have to do anything underhanded. All he has to do is pass the bill through reconciliation.

Wigglesworth on February 23, 2015 at 9:42 PM

If a federal judge can enjoin Obama from moving forward on amnesty, why can’t he enjoin congress from spending money on it? If he thinks it’s unconstitutional, how can congress subsidize it?

senor on February 23, 2015 at 6:34 PM

Court injunctions… congressional funding… such quaint old fashioned separation of powers notions.

Turns out, Obama’s been issuing illegal work permits to illegal aliens since 2009:

Government data reveal that more than 7.4 million work permits (formally known as Employment Authorization Documents) were issued to aliens from 2009 to 2014. Because neither lawful permanent residents (green card holders) nor temporary work visa holders need a work permit, this amounts to a huge parallel immigrant work authorization system outside the numerical limits and categories set by Congress.

de rigueur on February 23, 2015 at 9:46 PM

Rs, stand your ground. Use the same rule the Dems used to stop filibusters – just DO it. Put the problem on the Dems’ backs.

MN J on February 23, 2015 at 11:25 PM

i just messaged my two guys, told them to vote for the House bill and nothing else! McConnel is an asshole!

hurricane567 on February 23, 2015 at 11:31 PM

Until the middle class wakes up and destroys the GOP we will have nobody to represent our interests in Congress.The GOP is owned by the donor class,the Chamber of Commerce and big business interests.They will do nothing to stop amnesty because the people that own them want a source of cheap labor.The GOP must be destroyed so a real opposition party can stand up to the socialist progressives.

redware on February 24, 2015 at 12:44 PM

The Republicans want to split the bill so that:

1. Obama’s amnesty is funded, because the Republicans really want amnesty

and

2. The separate defunding bill will be filibustered by the Democrats and will never pass…..as the Republicans know.

kjatexas on February 24, 2015 at 12:54 PM

Why we continue to send these folk back to office KNOWING they will do exactly what they desire, regardless of what we sent them to do and contemptuous of our desires. Look at the record…

Kill amnesty…nope
Stop the spending…nope
Use the power of the purse…nope
Repeal ObamaCare…nope
Reading bills before passed…nope
Killing Net Neutrality….nope
Reviewing rules from the bureaucrats..nope
Safeguard the Constitution…nope

And before anyone reminds me of the filibuster and the Senate, let me remind you that Reid set the precedent to kill the filibuster when desired…we are simply to stupid/gutless to use their tactics…Its like dueling with a fellow armed with a dueling pistol while we opt for a rubber band gun.

JIMV on February 24, 2015 at 1:39 PM

But I’m being unfair. Undoing Obama’s amnesty has never been a serious goal: McConnell doesn’t have a prayer of getting the 67 votes he’d need to override an Obama veto absent extraordinary circumstances, and the only extraordinary circumstances that might put pressure on Democrats would require the GOP to take potentially huge political risks

It appears Nothing is a serious goal as they will compromise away every advantage and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory every time. IMHO we send them to DC to take political risks if that is what it takes to do what we sent them there to do.

JIMV on February 24, 2015 at 1:43 PM

An establishment-Republican will sell out his/her country for money up front. Just for the money.
An establishment-Democrat will sell out his/her country for free, but demand lots of bribes and kickbacks on the back end for political power and then rake in the money once they have control.

Am I wrong?

shorebird on February 25, 2015 at 12:45 AM

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