A leftover from last night. He means the Senate specifically is stuck because Democrats keep filibustering GOP bills that would make funding for Homeland Security contingent upon defunding Obama’s immigration measures, but the problem is bigger than that. The entire congressional Republican leadership is stuck. And getting unstuck won’t be easy.
“We’re stuck,” McConnell said Tuesday. “The next move, obviously, is up to the House.”
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) did not agree.
“The House did its work. We won this fight,” Boehner said recently, acknowledging that McConnell’s “got a tough job.”
“There’s little point in additional House action,” Boehner’s spokesman reiterated Tuesday…
If a bill eventually passes that allows Obama’s immigration plans to proceed, one question will be whether House Republicans or Senate Republicans will take the blame from conservatives in the party.
Your move, says a frustrated McConnell to Boehner. No, your move, answers Boehner, eager to see the new Senate GOP majority take the sort of beating from righties that he’s suffered for the last four years whenever a GOP scheme goes bust. And the irony is, we all know what that move will be even if we don’t know yet who’ll be forced to make it. The next move is to pass a clean short-term funding bill for DHS and then address Obama’s amnesty separately. Once they’ve ceded their leverage by releasing Homeland Security’s money, Republicans might pick up a few Democratic votes for a separate immigration bill addressing O’s immigration measure. But they won’t get to 60. Even a rump Democratic caucus with jittery purple-state centrists like Joe Manchin probably fears Reid and Obama too much to give McConnell the six votes he needs to embarrass O by bringing a bipartisan bill to his desk and forcing him to veto it. Which raises the question: Why partially capitulate by making the eventual clean bill to fund DHS a short-term thing? Why not throw in the towel completely and fund the department for the rest of the year?
And all of this was foreseeable. Watch Cruz in the second clip below, recorded this past weekend, in which he calls the “cromnibus” bill that set all of this up a “box canyon.” That’s correct. The idea was that, rather than risk a wider government shutdown over Obama’s amnesty, Republicans would focus on DHS funding and risk a limited shutdown of that department if Obama and the Dems refused to scale back his immigration actions. But they were never willing to shut down DHS either — and, bizarrely, they made no secret of that fact. They were bluffing and they admitted it, and then, for good measure, the House passed an amendment to the DHS bill that not only would have blocked Obama’s recent mega-amnesty but also the smaller DACA amnesty for DREAMers that he imposed in 2012, thus making it even less palatable to centrist Dems. On the one hand they vowed to use their power of the pursue to stop Obama’s executive overreach while on the other hand they vowed to show American voters eyeing 2016 that the new, responsible Republican Congress would never tolerate shutdowns. How you square those two things is beyond me, and beyond Cruz. All that’s left now is to try to squeeze some PR points out of this by framing the current impasse and looming DHS shutdown as driven by Democrats rather than the GOP. (You’ll see Cruz segue into that point as well.) Which is true: It’s Democrats who are blocking funding for DHS right now because they care more about protecting Obama’s amnesty than they do about funding Homeland Security. But if you think that’s how the media will frame this standoff if/when DHS runs out of funding in a few weeks, you’re a far more optimistic person than me.
Update: More PR points.