White House: Obama will shut down the government with a veto if the GOP tries to stop amnesty

Via the Daily Caller, there’s a caveat here but I’m not sure why. First Jon Karl asks whether Obama would veto a single bill that funds the entire government for 12 months but specifically blocks him from carrying out executive amnesty. Yup, sure would, says Josh Earnest. Okay, says Karl, but what if Republicans pass a bill that funds the entire government for 12 months except for Homeland Security, the agency tasked with implementing amnesty, which would be funded on a short-term basis only until O rescinds his executive order? Earnest is noncommittal about that one. That idea, the so-called “CROmnibus,” is indeed being kicked around by GOP leaders. Which makes sense: Republicans want to play hardball with amnesty funding but without defunding the entire government, lest they be blamed for a new shutdown. The obvious solution is to fund most of it and instead play hardball with just DHS, on the assumption that most of the public won’t care about that. Perfectly logical for the GOP to consider that approach.

Is it logical for Obama to consider it, though? His goal is to pressure the GOP into funding his amnesty; his leverage is public perceptions that if government can’t function because it’s not getting the money it needs, it must be the damned Republicans’ fault. If he agrees to the CROmnibus plan, which would require him to sign a bill funding all of the government except DHS for 12 months, he reduces his leverage. Logically, it seems, if he’s willing to veto a single omnibus funding bill on grounds that it hurts his amnesty, he should be willing to veto two separate bills (one short-term bill for DHS and a longer-term bill for everything else) that seek to achieve the same purpose. If Earnest is hedging here, and he is, it must be that even Democrats are nervous about the politics of this. Yes, granted, without knowing the details, many more people are reflexively inclined to blame Republicans for any government shutdown than they are to blame Obama. But O refusing to sign a bill that funded most of the government, no strings attached, because of a separate fight over immigration could be a hard sell for lefties. And not just in the short term: If, for once, it’s the left that suffers a backlash from a shutdown, it might make Democrats skittish about playing hardball again over funding in the future. That’s one of the many costs imposed by Obama’s amnesty power grab — not only does it set an alarming new precedent for executive power, but it puts both parties in seldom traveled political territory. Immigration politics are unpredictable even in normal times. What happens when you toss a crisis over separation of powers into the mix?

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