“GOP Holds Security Hostage to Immigration”
In Congress, Republicans continue to insist that funding for the Department of Homeland Security be held up unless the President and Senate Democrats agree to end deferred action programs that benefit immigrants with deep roots in America. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will attempt to have the upper chamber take up the House-passed spending measure–a bill that House Republicans added a number of anti-immigrant riders to, on top of funding for DHS operations.
Ahead of Tuesday’s scheduled vote, the Washington Post penned a new editorial entitled, “GOP Holds Security Hostage to Immigration.” Key excerpts from the Washington Post editorial follow below.
How far will Republicans in Congress take their reckless flirtation with undermining government this time?
Will they, as seems increasingly likely, fail to pass a bill that the president can sign ensuring adequate funding for the Department of Homeland Security and its 280,000 employees before the agency’s support expires Feb. 27? Are they ready to let funding lapse, secure in the knowledge that Border Patrol officers, Secret Service agents, airport security personnel and other so-called essential employees would still have to report to work — even though they would not be drawing paychecks?
A number of prominent Republican lawmakers clearly believe that denying funding to the nation’s premier organ of domestic security is no big deal, as long as the move expresses the GOP’s anger about President Obama’s executive actions on immigration…
…Last month, they [the House GOP] passed a bill furnishing the department with $40 billion in funding through September, the end of the current budget year. But they attached provisions to that bill, certain to draw a presidential veto, that would kill the administration’s plan to temporarily protect several million undocumented immigrants from deportation and repeal a program, in force since 2012, that offers a similar shield to people brought here illegally as children…
…On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Ky.) announced the body would consider the House bill this week, a sign that the GOP is persisting with its game of chicken. The bill is unlikely to attract the necessary 60 votes for passage, which would require a half-dozen Democratic defections. But there is no shortage of Republican lawmakers who would rather try to antagonize the president than carry out the workaday task of funding the government.
In the absence of a bill, the department’s funding lapses in less than a month. What happens in the intervening weeks will indicate whether Republicans are more interested in gamesmanship or governance.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Republican irresponsibility will be on full display this week. Instead of approving a clean DHS appropriations bill and giving stability to the agency in charge of protecting America against terrorism, Senate GOP Leadership seems determined to pitch a fit in hopes of impressing the GOP’s hardliners. It’s worth remembering that this entire play – threatening DHS spending, hurtling towards a partial government shutdown, pursuing a lost cause – is the brainchild of Republican leadership. Can it be that the GOP is more interested in deporting Dreamers and pandering to hard-liners than in keeping the nation safe? We’ll soon find out.