With funding for the Homeland Security Department (DHS) set to expire on Friday, House Speaker John Boehner and the rest of his Republican leadership team "are trying to show that they are still willing to mount a fight" against President Barack Obama's immigration policies but are "unwilling to shut down DHS," to do so, Politico reported.
Uncertain of what strategy to take, House Republicans lead by Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise are considering passage of a short-term measure to fund the government while Republicans decide on a strategy to remove funding for Obama's executive amnesty plans for illegal immigrants from DHS.
The problem with such an approach, Politico notes, "is that it would do nothing to resolve the fundamental dispute over immigration." If Republicans decide to settle for a short-term funding bill, "they will have spent all of February and a chunk of March on debating the funding of DHS. It will also represent a failure by a Republican majority, which promised to do away with legislative crises."
Despite the Republican Party's crushing victory in the midterm elections and a federal court ruling last week delaying Obama's executive amnesty order, the administration and congressional Democrats show no signs at all of backing down while House and Senate Republicans are squabbling among themselves.
Obama promises to veto any legislation which hampers his ability to change immigration law enforcement, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have dug in as well.
"If they send over a bill with all the riders in it, they’ve shut down the government. We’re not going to play games," Reid said.
Pelosi declared that she would not give Boehner any "cover" to keep DHS limping along while the immigration fight continues.
"It’s not a question of giving him cover. We’re trying to give cover to the American people so that their homeland is protected," Pelosi said.
Boehner has reportedly considered other options, including an effort to force some kind of formal House-Senate negotiations over the issue. Senate Democrats have rejected that idea.
As Boehner mulls his next move, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled that he has given up on trying to push through House-passed DHS funding legislation that would gut Obama's executive amnesty plans.
The Senate GOP hopes to pass a "clean" DHS funding bill —
in other words, one which funds all DHS activities including Obama's plans
to legalize about 5 million illegal immigrants.
Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama —
a leader of Senate critics of Obama's immigration policies —
has said he will not use parliamentary roadblocks to prevent McConnell's proposal from going forward.
The situation is less clear in the House, however, where some Republicans are warning privately that Boehner
could lose his speakership if he does not keep his promise to fight Obama amnesty plans "tooth and nail."
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