Joe Manchin: I'm voting with Senate Republicans to block Obama's executive amnesty; Update: No deal without Boehner, says Reid

I’m … not sure why we should still care about the great DHS funding debacle at this point, but for what it’s worth, McConnell’s tactic of splitting the Homeland Security bill from the GOP’s bill to roll back Obama’s executive action on immigration has picked up at least one Democratic vote for the latter. Maybe more:

“We need to have a clean DHS, Department of Homeland Security, funding bill. I’ve said that. Don’t play politics with it. So now, Mitch McConnell is going to pull that out separately. I appreciate that. I support that wholeheartedly,” Manchin said on CNN’s “New Day.”…

“I agree the president went over, and he overstepped his boundaries,” Manchin said. “I will vote against those orders, basically, if we have to vote on it. I will be voting with the Republicans on that issue there.”…

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) suggested he’s also open to the plan.

“I appreciate what Mitch McConnell has done,” he said.

I can’t tell from that if Carper “appreciates” splitting the bill enough to vote with the GOP against amnesty, but Manchin’s position is clear enough. Skip to 2:00 below to hear it from the man himself. There’s a chance that five more Dems will come aboard on the immigration bill and get McConnell the 60 votes he needs to break a filibuster, which would leave us … where, exactly? Will the House accept a separate bill aimed at immigration knowing that it means capitulating on DHS funding? If Boehner can’t get to 218 among his own caucus, how many House Democrats would be willing to vote for a “no executive amnesty” bill to make up the shortfall? All McConnell’s doing here is passing the hot potato back to Boehner. And it’ll all be meaningless even if Boehner can get the votes: There’d be some mild humiliation for Obama if the GOP Congress succeeded in sending an anti-amnesty bill to his desk with Democratic help, but O will torpedo it without a second thought and that’ll be that. (In fact, the White House may be quietly encouraging red-state Democrats like Manchin to vote against Obama’s executive action since it’ll help them with conservative voters during the tough 2018 midterms.) Getting six Democratic votes for a DHS funding bill tied to amnesty would have been a big deal because it would have deprived Democrats of their “Republicans are shutting down the government!” narrative. That’s a hard argument to make when people from your own party helped make the shutdown possible. As it is, all we’re doing now is going through the motions of an Obama veto. And of course landing John Boehner back in the crucible of finding 218 votes for a bill that neither party in the House much likes. Another strategic triumph for the GOP.

Go easy on McConnell, though. How’s he supposed to bluff the Democrats into believing Republicans are ready to play hardball on amnesty when elder statesmen in his own caucus are telling the media they’d be better off punting this to the courts?

Update: The shark smells blood in the water.

In an extraordinary sequence, Mitch McConnell offered Democrats Tuesday exactly what they have been asking for — “clean” full-year funding for the Department of Homeland Security. And Harry Reid said no — or at least, not yet.

Majority Leader McConnell’s offer of passing a clean full-year Homeland Security bill through the Senate shorn of immigration provisions — which he said could happen very quickly with Democratic cooperation — was put on hold by Minority Leader Reid, who told reporters he was waiting to hear Speaker John A. Boehner agree to pass it through the House first.

“We have to make sure that we get a bill to the president,” Reid said. “Unless Boehner’s in on the deal, it won’t happen.”

That could lead to the extraordinary circumstance of Democrats blocking a bill they have insisted on for weeks.

Not only did the GOP cave, but now Reid’s going to twist the knife by demanding that Boehner agree before the Senate votes to push McConnell’s “clean” DHS bill, knowing full well that Boehner likely can’t guarantee that it’ll pass — certainly not without Democratic votes. He’s rubbing Republicans’ faces in their own strategic failure.