Did you miss the Republican drama on the Senate floor yesterday? No worries — we have you covered.
Yesterday, the Senate voted to reject the DHS funding bill that passed the Republican-controlled House. But the vote wasn’t just about funding DHS. The focus of the bill was on a measure to defund DACA and DAPA that House Republicans inserted into the legislation.
Needless to say, the Republican attack on DACA and DAPA didn’t go over well in the Senate and it was embarrassing for Republicans. The vote said so much about the incredible immigration pickle Republicans are stuck in. Here’s how the vote when down.
House Republicans have become obsessed (mad?) with ending President Obama’s administrative immigration that protect undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US before the age of 16 and parents of US citizen children from deportation. And they see the DHS funding bill as their only way to block DAPA and DACA.
DHS is under the authority of the White House and President Obama can set deportation priority policies, but Congress decides the budget for DHS. So House Republicans have very few options for ending the policy. Their only shot is to use their “power of the purse” (their ability to control the budget) to defund the program and that’s what got this whole fight started. But here’s where the stakes get really high. DHS currently only has funding authorized through the end of February. If Congress can’t come to an agreement, portions of DHS will have to shut down.
Which puts Republicans in an awkward position. Do they really want to be responsible for another government shutdown? Sen. Cornyn want to appeal to the anti-immigrant, tea-party base of the party while still appealing to the growing number of Latino voters in his home state of Texas. This is why we often give Sen. Cornyn our “Hypocrite of the Year” Award.
Here’s Sen. Cornyn hopelessly trying to place the blame on President Obama and Senate Democrats for the impending show down of DACA and DAPA. It’s not long before Sen. Schumer calls his bluff.
That’s the best that Sen. Cornyn can come up with? “Democrats made us do it.” What is this, 3rd grade?
But I guess we were warned. Remember, not long ago Sen. Mitch McConnel said that President Obama’s immigration actions are like “waving a red flag in front of a bull.” He was right. And as Slate pointed out, “That usually ends badly for the bull.” They were right, too.
And speaking of bull, here’s more from Sen. Schumer on the Republican strategy (led by Sen. Ted Cruz) to shutdown DHS over President Obama’s immigration policy.
Moderate Democrats also had something to say to Republicans about their shutdown strategy.
Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri touched on the Republicans’ inability to lead on legislation — especially when it comes to immigration.
I’m a little confused about what’s happening right now. The Republican Party is in charge—totally in charge of Congress. Speaker Boehner and the Majority Leader McConnell—I’m sure their staffs talk on a daily basis. I’m sure they’re talking and coordinating and…
The Republican Party now has the responsibility of showing this country that they can run Congress. So what do they do right out of the gate? They threaten to shut down the department of our government that protects our homeland, while ISIS is burning prisoner’s alive on film.
The irony of this is, Republicans are in charge. So all they have to do is present a clean funding bill for Homeland Security and the very next day take up immigration reform and debate it. But they are trying to play a political trick and trying to make it look like, that somehow, they’re disagreement with the president on immigration trumps the protection of our country and that somehow we’ll all go along with that…
Sen. McCaskill said during her remarks that she wasn’t entirely “comfortable” with President Obama’s actions on immigration. But she said defunding DHS wasn’t the way to move forward. The way forward, she argued, is passing comprehensive immigration reform.
You know how we prevent that from happening. We have a House of Representatives that’s willing to take up immigration reform. This body passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill by a wide margin. It wasn’t even a squeaker… and the bill we passed here was amazing in terms of border security. But Speaker Boehner wouldn’t take it up. For more than 18 months, Speaker Boehner wouldn’t even allow it to be debated on the floor of the House.
So now that they’re in charge, do they take up immigration reform? Do they have a proposal? … You don’t like what the president has done. Then put up a bill and let’s debate it.
And Sen. Jean Sheheen from New Hampshire added:
We’re happy to debate immigration. In fact, I would love to debate immigration reform with our colleagues. But the bill before us is not about immigration reform. It’s about whether or not we’re going to fund the Department of Homeland Security.
So what’s next?
House Republicans have been pushing Republicans in the Senate to hold multiple votes on the funding bill. And now top Republicans have indicated that they’ll try to bring up the House-passed DHS funding bill again, but the procedure is more about creating content for campaign ads then passing legislation. No one knows how the GOP-led Congress will ultimately produce legislation that doesn’t prompt a veto threat from the White House. So it seems the only way forward is for House conservatives to realize that virtually no bill can pass the Senate if it attacks DAPA and DACA.
So break out the popcorn, this is going to be a great show.