Why we need better Senate Republicans... DHS funding edition

I really need to stop watching political news coverage on Sundays because I can’t afford to buy a new TV every week if I start throwing bricks through the screen. As we have discussed here ad nauseam, the funding for the Department of Homeland Security is ready and waiting to be spent. The House has approved it and it only requires the Senate to do likewise, followed by a quick signature from President Obama. Done and done. The deadline for action – which is being blocked by the Democrats – is quickly approaching. In fact, it will arrive while we’re all down in the vicinity of our stalwart GOP representatives during CPAC. All the GOP needs to do now is make sure that the bill in the Senate is ready and waiting for a vote at any moment the Democrats would care to allow one. Nothing else is required except for a bit of intestinal fortitude on the part of the Republicans.

So let’s see how we’re doing on that front. First, the head of the DHS has the media singing his tune, as he claims that the Democrats aren’t blocking anything.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson claimed that Democrats are “not blocking debate” on the DHS funding bill that they have filibustered in the Senate. “Democrats are not blocking debate,” Johnson said on Fox News Sunday.

When asked why Democrats refused to take up the House-passed DHS appropriations bill, which contains language denying funding for Obama’s executive orders, and try to amend the bill to remove that language, he explained that they are unwilling to debate the executive orders in the context of DHS funding.

Well, Johnson is part of Team Obama, so you’d expect him to spout some nonsense like that. No surprise there. So let’s hear from some prominent Republicans as they put him in his place. First up, Lindsey Graham.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) called for Republicans to pass a Department of Homeland Security funding bill and hope that the courts invalidate President Obama’s executive orders, a reversal from his position of two weeks ago.

“I agree with the Texas judge who said that the executive orders were illegal,” Graham said told George Stephanopoulos during an ABC interview. “I hope Republicans will come together and back the court case, file a friend of the court brief with the court and fund DHS. I am willing and ready to pass a DHS funding bill and let this play out in court. The worst possible outcome for this nation is to defund the Department of Homeland Security given the multiple threats we face to our homeland. And I will not be part of that.”

Let the courts handle it? Seriously? Senator Graham, the finish line is in sight. You have one job at this point, and that’s to ensure that the Democrats have every opportunity to help fund DHS or to give them enough rope to hang themselves. What are you possibly thinking?

Perhaps you can have some sense talked into you by your colleague, Senator McCain.

“I’d love to be a friend of whoever is taking this case all the way up to the United States Supreme Court,” McCain said, adding that he was confident that the matter would ultimately be settled there, and that the states would prevail. As for shutting down DHS, McCain said he opposed that plan of attack, and believed it would ultimately fail in the Senate.

“I don’t want to see that movie again,” he said, referring to the 2013 government shutdown, and specifically to the thousands of visitors turned away from National Parks in its wake. Left unsaid was that a possible DHS shutdown would affect only a small percentage of the agency’s workforce, since 87 percent of Homeland Security employees are deemed “essential,” meaning they must continue working in a shutdown, and the other 13% can easily be recalled to work in an emergency.

If I could offer up a plaintive question to both Lindsey Graham and John McCain… why do you hate us? This was why we fought and won the election of 2014. You have all the tools you need to accomplish a significant goal which is desired by the very people who kept you in your lofty positions of power. And we’re really not asking you to do much of anything… just let the Democrats destroy themselves and enjoy some popcorn while they do so.

I’m very close to losing faith entirely. These guys have victory in their grasp and they are about to turn tail and let it slip away. In the process, they will hand a massive victory and election talking point to the people who the voters rejected last November. They could simply show up for work every day for the rest of the week, sit on their hands while saying nothing (unless the Democrats agree to a vote) and the job would be done. But apparently this is too much to ask of the Senate GOP.

It’s time for a gut check, gentlemen. We expect you to pass this test, but you’re not doing anything to inspire confidence at the moment.

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David Strom 8:01 AM on March 27, 2023