Gathered in Hershey, Pennsylvania to plot their strategies for the next session, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) tried to dampen conservative expectations over efforts to use the Department of Homeland Security to defund President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) told the press that shutting down the Department of Homeland Security was “off the table,” according to Matt Fuller at Roll Call.
Fuller notes, “But other than a blast from the past, the retreat has been about managing expectations for House Republicans.”
Nursery school is in session.
House Republicans don’t want to give up the “bargaining chip” of Homeland Security (that’s how distorted their thinking is). From Roll Call :
But Senate leadership is already indicating how difficult it will be to advance the House bill as written. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, in a separate event with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, said Senate Republicans have no intention of shutting down the Department of Homeland Security. “That’s off the table,” Cornyn said.
House conservatives might not be so excited about giving up such a bargaining chip, but some do feel it’s important that Republicans be realistic about what they can accomplish.
Joel Gehrke at the National Review explained that the terrorist plot against the Capitol “seems to have diminished the GOP’s willingness to allow the funding to lapse.”
“That’s why you’re hearing an unequivocal commitment to funding the Department of Homeland Security,” Cornyn told the National Review. “We’re not going to put that at risk under any circumstances.”
And here’s the cave, per NRO:
Instead, they pledged to pass the Department of Homeland Security funding bill that was supposed to provide them the leverage needed to block the orders. The recent spate of terror threats has changed the political landscape, leaving Republican opponents of the immigration orders in a box canyon.
So it took known terrorist plans against their own place of work to get Republicans to rethink holding the Department of Homeland Security hostage.
It was delusional for Republicans to think that President Obama would change his stance about not bargaining when they hold government hostage. The first few go arounds, they caught the President off guard because their actions were so shocking. But now he’s got their number and he doesn’t play Hold the Country Hostage anymore. This leaves House Republicans looking impotent and foolish once again, and puts strain between Boehner and McConnell.
Of course, Republicans couldn’t have known that acts and threats of terrorism would coincide with their threats to defund Homeland Security, but they might have anticipated that leaving DHS operating on a CR with no funding after February 27th would be bad optics for their party.
Not only has President Obama shown up Republicans on national security, but now House Republicans are determined to stain the party with the stench of crazy extremists using national security as a “bargaining chip” even as the Capitol was threatened and the President of the United States goes without “crucial” security protections due to the Republicans’ actions.
The Republican leadership’s refusal to shut down Homeland Security over the president’s immigration executive orders means that Obama wins. Republicans aren’t able to stop the president’s executive actions. Boehner and McConnell will both count on Democrats to help them pass a clean Homeland Security funding bill. Once again, the president has succeeded in putting the Republicans on defense and forced them to react to his agenda.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
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