Senate Democrats turned up the heat on Boehner and McConnell by blocking the fourth Senate Republican attempt to overturn President Obama’s immigration actions by attaching it to the Homeland Security funding bill.
Today’s vote was just like the previous three. Republicans voted to move the bill forward, except for Dean Heller of Nevada, while Democrats and Independents stood united in opposition. The final vote was 47-46 in favor, with Mitch McConnell voting no as a procedural move so that he could bring the vote up again later.
Before the vote, Sen. John Barrasso went through the same Republican talking points that they tried to use during the previous three attempts to move the bill forward. The only difference is that Barrasso added the ruling by the Bush appointed partisan judge that blocked President Obama’s executive action on immigration. Republicans tried to shift the focus away from Homeland Security and towards immigration. Barrasso accused Senate Democrats of, “Not understanding why they lost” the midterm election and called on Democrats to, “stop defending the president and the White House.”
Democratic vice chair of the Appropriations Committee Sen,. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) called out Republicans and said, “We should be voting on a clean Homeland Security bill.” She called out Republicans for playing politics while the country faces some of our biggest homeland security challenges right now. Mikulski contrasted the hypocrisy of Republicans asking what is Obama doing to protect America while ignoring the “boots on the ground” in this country who need funding. The Maryland senator urged Republicans to put immigration aside and pass a clean Homeland Security funding bill.
Democrat Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) used the threat of an attack against her home state Mall of America to hammer Republicans for jeopardizing national security over the immigration language in the bill. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) went after Republicans on the point that members of the Coast Guard won’t be paid.
Republican Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) went with the standard Republican talking point that Democrats are obstructing the bill while he ignored the Democrats’ issues with immigration riders in the bill.
With days to go until Homeland Security shuts down, Senate Republicans have their backs against the wall. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have to quickly decide whether he will abandon the House Republican suicide mission of trying to overturn President Obama’s executive action immigration by tying it to Homeland Security funding, or if he is finally willing to pass a clean Homeland Security funding bill.
It is clear that the House Republican Homeland Security bill is going nowhere fast. Unless Speaker John Boehner backs down at the last moment and allows a clean vote on Homeland Security funding, it looks like the agency is heading for a shutdown.
Republicans tried to pick a fight with President Obama by tying Homeland Security funding to overturning his immigration actions, and they are losing in a big way. The ball is now in Boehner’s court, and if Homeland Security shuts down, Republicans will be blamed.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association