Even before the House passed a measure that would fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) but block funding for some of President Barack Obama's controversial immigration executive actions, Democrats were arguing that Republicans' goal was a partial government shutdown.
"It is clear Republicans' partisan recklessness knows no limits. House Republicans are threatening a partial government shutdown, choosing a time of rising terrorism to imperil the security of our entire country to satisfy the most radical anti-immigrant fringes of their party," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
in a Jan. 12 press statement.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest joined Pelosi in condemning Republican efforts to defund Obama's executive action to grant amnesty to approximately 4 million illegal immigrants, even drawing on the recent terror attacks in Paris to make his case.
"There's never a good time for Republicans to do something like this, but now it seems like a particularly bad time," Earnest said on Monday, reports The Miami Herald
While it is unlikely the Senate will pass the House's bill, which will boost DHS's fiscal 2014 funding to $39.7 billion for fiscal 2015 and roll back Obama's executive orders, Republican leaders have been clear the legislative logjam will not result in a government shutdown, according to The Hill
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told reporters during a break at the GOP's joint Senate-House retreat in Hershey, Pennsylvania, that "under no circumstances" would there be a government shutdown.
"No more drama associated with shutting down, for example, the Department of Homeland Security. That's off the table. Under no circumstances will we see any shutdowns," said the Texas senator.
Funding for the DHS expires on Feb. 27.
Passing the Homeland Security funding bill was, Republican leaders contend, evidence that they were going the extra mile to avoid shuttering the DHS.
"It is not our intent in any way. That's why we took it up early. That's why we fully funded it," said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, The Hill reports.
Government shutdown is a dog whistle Democrats have blown before.
In November, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued a call to Republican leaders in Congress to "stand up to the radical forces" that might consider a government shutdown in response to any executive action taken by Obama.
"It's clear to me that Republican leaders want to work together to keep the government funded. The only question is whether the Republican leaders will be able to stand up to the radical forces within their own party who are intent on holding our government hostage," Reid said
on the Senate floor.
A press release
circulated by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee echoed Reid's talk of GOP "plans" to shut the government down by warning that "a possible shutdown is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Republican overreach."
But some GOP members believe the Paris attacks have changed the landscape and that the GOP would be "playing with fire" if they place efforts to defund Obama's immigration executive actions ahead of funding the DHS.
"To my Republican colleagues, we're playing with fire here. We need a robust homeland security budget now," said South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham in an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room."
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