Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) took the virtually unprecedented step of nailing John Boehner’s obstruction by announcing that Senate Democrats will not support any deal to fund Homeland Security unless Boehner caves first.
In an extraordinary sequence of events, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered Democrats exactly what they have been asking for Tuesday — “clean” full-year funding for the Department of Homeland Security. And Minority Leader Harry Reid said “no” — or at least, “not yet.”
McConnell’s offer of such a bill shorn of provisions blocking President Barack Obama’s recent immigration executive orders — which he said could happen quickly with Democratic cooperation — was put on hold by Reid, who said he was waiting to hear Speaker John A. Boehner agree to pass it through the House first.
“We have to make sure that we get a bill to the president,” Reid said. “Unless Boehner’s in on the deal, it won’t happen.”
In other words, Democrats aren’t going to agree to anything until Boehner makes the House vote on it first. Harry Reid learned for years of broken Boehner promises to know that the Speaker’s word is worthless. (Speaker Boehner promised that Homeland Security wouldn’t shut down, but the nation is just days away from exactly what Boehner said would not happen.) Reid is going make sure that the House Republicans can’t back out of any deal that is made.
Democrats aren’t going to get sucked into the House Republican dysfunction. Boehner needs to pass a clean funding bill for Homeland Security before Senate Democrats will sign on. Speaker Boehner’s office continues to suggest that they will not pass a clean funding bill, but if House Republicans are waiting for Senate Democrats to blink, they are going to be disappointed.
Rep. Boehner has earned every ounce of distrust that Democrats have for him. The message is clear. Senate Democrats aren’t going to give John Boehner any wiggle room. If Homeland Security shuts down, it’s going to be Boehner’s fault.