Tags: Barack Obama | Homeland Security | Immigration | republicans | congress | homeland | security

Reports: GOP Losing Appetite For DHS Funding Fight

By    |   Tuesday, 24 February 2015 08:19 PM

With another government shutdown looming, Republicans in Congress, and the Senate in particular, appear to be backing down from a fight with the Obama administration over funding of the president's executive moves on immigration, according to reports.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday offered a way out of the budget standoff, proposing a vote to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security — and put the de-funding provisions championed by conservatives in a separate bill, the Associated Press reports.

Conservatives, especially in the Republican-controlled House, are sure to oppose such a move as a cave-in to the administration. The House has already passed a budget that blocks DHS from complying with Obama's November order to issue work permits and visas to several million immigrants here illegally.

Critics of the sweeping amnesty measure have called it an unconstitutional abuse of executive authority that Obama himself had previously said he lacked, and an incentive for more migrants to cross into the United States illegally and drive down American workers' wages in the process.

"But the move towards splitting the vote in two [in the Senate] suggests Republican leaders probably see this as their only way out," writes liberal political blogger Greg Sargent of The Washington Post.

"Indeed more GOP Senators are essentially calling on the leadership to give up," Sargent writes, noting that some are falling back on the argument that a Texas judge has given them political cover by temporarily blocking Obama's actions at the request of 25 states.

"I've always thought the judicial system was an alternative way to deal with the president’s overreach last November, and now that one court has ruled to put a stay on his executive order, perhaps that frees us to go forward and get the department fully funded,” said Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, The New York Times reports.

With DHS funding set to run out on Friday, and a CNN poll showing most Americans would blame Republicans for the agency shutting down, several Republicans are rethinking the use of DHS funding to block amnesty, the Times reports.

“I don’t think shutdowns and showdowns are the way to win the presidency in 2016,” said Rep. Tom Cole, Oklahoma Republican.

Cole echoed what the Times described as fear that "a nasty partisan impasse over funding for a vital agency would probably damage the party’s brand just months after Republicans took power, and the impact could carry over into the next election cycle."

Senate Democrats, although in the minority, have already used the filibuster to block
GOP attempts to strip out the immigration funding. On Tuesday, they sought to put Republicans on the defensive by arguing that a Homeland Security shutdown at a time of rising global terrorism would send a message of weakness to America's enemies.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Democrat, invoked the threat made against shopping malls, including her state's Mall of America, by the militant group al-Shabaab.

Klobuchar urged Republicans to "fund our security and not to send a message to al-Shabaab that we're going to shut down Homeland Security," the Associated Press reports.

Some conservatives have questioned whether Republicans being blamed for a DHS shutdown would hurt them in 2016, noting the GOP trounced Democrats in the November midterm election despite a much larger government shutdown the year before.

"Hey listen, the government was slowed down … in 2013, and who lost? The president and the Democratic Party," Rep. Paul Gosar, Arizona Republican, told Newsmax TV in December, when conservatives fought to strip immigration amnesty measures from the massive $1.1 trillion "cromnibus" spending bill.

They succeeded in limiting Homeland Security funding to Feb. 27, setting up the current battle.

House leaders would have to agree to McConnell's proposal to split DHS funding into separate bills.

With McConnell being described as having thrown in the towel, the question is whether House Speaker John Boehner will follow suit.

Boehner has previously said that House members did their part with a DHS funding bill that blocks amnesty, and that it's Senate Democrats who are holding up the government.

But Roll Call reports that that Senate Majority Leader is actually spurning McConnell's offer of a clean DHS funding vote for now because Reid is betting that Boehner will surrender first.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, also endorsed the McConnell olive branch, saying, "I just don't know how we do it any other way," the Associated Press reports.

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With another government shutdown looming, Republicans in Congress, and the Senate in particular, appear to be backing down from a fight with the Obama administration over funding of the president's executive moves on immigration, according to reports.
republicans, congress, homeland, security, funding, barack obama, immigration, executive, orders
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 08:19 PM
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