Republicans in Congress are caving in to President Barack Obama on immigration because they have bought into the "canard" of another government shutdown and let their fear of liberal media censure dictate their actions, says former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) chief Michael Brown.
"Republicans are afraid of the media — that's the bottom line — and they're not very good at communicating what their story is," Brown told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV
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With a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) threatened if the agency's budget isn't renewed on Friday, cracks in congressional GOP resolve
are showing: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday offered to fund DHS entirely and put the targeted spending bans passed by the House in a separate bill.
That prompted House Speaker John Boehner
to say, "It's time for the Senate to do their job," in what appeared to be a rebuke to his ally, McConnell, as well as to the Senate Democrats — who have stymied McConnell by blocking every Senate attempt to strip out immigration-related funding.
If the president ultimately gets what he wants — a "clean" DHS bill on his desk that funds everything including his controversial executive order to officially wave in millions of undocumented immigrants — it will be because Republicans "failed" and succumbed to the media's preferred narrative, said Brown.
"Let's first get what I call the bovine feces part of this story out of the way: DHS is not going to shut down, irrespective of this vote," said Brown, who ran FEMA before and after it became a division of DHS.
"TSA will go to work. ICE will go to work, FEMA will go to work," he said, listing the airport safety, border control and disaster aid subsidiaries of DHS.
Because those workers are classified as essential government personnel, they remain on the clock even during a shutdown — with wages withheld, but reimbursed once a budget is passed.
"People will go to work and, unlike in the private sector … even if there's a shutdown [they] will ultimately get paid," said Brown. "They always get paid.
"So this whole canard about a shutdown is a big, fat lie put out by the mainstream media, and for that matter, Democrats and Republicans," said Brown.
Republicans in the Senate have other, braver options to continue fighting against Obama's executive immigration decree, said Brown. The question, he said, is whether they will step up.
"All Mitch McConnell has to do is go out and say the Democrats themselves are admitting they are blocking the bill," said Brown, adding that the 60-vote threshold for ending Senate filibusters is "a rule … not a statute."
"If Republicans wanted to show some cojones and wanted to really stand up and lead and say this is important, they would invoke the nuclear option — get rid of that rule, as [former Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid has done in the past, and they would pass this bill.
"Republicans, they just turned out to be — I don't know," said Brown. "I don't know what to say about that."
Brown said the dynamic is not likely to change until McConnell and Boehner are replaced with new leaders. He also said that the Republicans' best hope for the presidency in 2016 is more likely to come from a statehouse, as a governor, than from the Senate.
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