Senate Republicans caved gave Democrats and President Obama what they wanted by passing a clean Homeland Security funding bill, 68-31.
The Senate passed an amendment that removed the provisions that blocked President Obama’s immigration executive orders from the House bill. In other words, the Senate has done its job, but the chaos and confusion in the House make it less than certain that a shutdown of Homeland Security has been avoided. Speaker of the House John Boehner is not going to bring the Senate bill up for a vote. Instead, Boehner is going to attempt to pass a three-week continuing resolution to temporarily fund Homeland Security.
The large margin of passage of the amendment made it clear that Senate Republicans want no part of this fight. Conservatives are outraged at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and are in full Ronald Reagan quotation mode over his cave.
Senate Democrats have proven themselves to be a strong and powerful minority. Republicans have not been able to split the Democrats, and it has been Harry Reid’s side of the aisle that has been setting the agenda in the Senate. Republican Sen. Richard Shelby complained to Politico that Sen. Reid is controlling the agenda, “He is controlling the agenda, and he probably will control the agenda if we don’t change the rules.”
The rule change that Sen. Shelby wants is for the filibuster to be gutted so that only 51 votes are required to advance and pass legislation. Harry Reid wouldn’t make this change when he was Majority Leader, and Mitch McConnell has shown zero interest in getting rid of all filibusters during his brief time in charge.
Democrats are controlling the agenda through effective use of their minority powers. The difference is that Democrats aren’t obstructing for the purpose of obstruction. Democrats disagree with the legislation that is being offered. When Republicans come to the middle, they will have more Democratic support. If they continue to insist on trying to pass dead on arrival House legislation, Senate Democrats will remain united in opposition.