It's looking more and more like House Republicans are more than happy to shut down the Department of Homeland Security in order to stop President Obama's immigration executive orders, and it's especially dangerous to see the House GOP leadership make these threats.
The Republicans, including Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), are vowing to hold the line on tying funding for the Homeland Security Department to language reversing Obama’s executive actions on immigration — even after Senate Democrats blocked their bill from being considered in the upper chamber.“There’s not a Plan B, because this is the plan," Scalise said minutes after the Senate vote, according to Fox News's Chad Pergram.
Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) echoed that message, saying “many of us agree that we should stand behind the one bill that we sent over there.”
“Most of us feel that way,” he said just before the Senate vote. “Anything less than that, we're not going to get any better result anyway. So why not just go for what's really right?”
Tuesday's Senate vote was 51-48 to end debate on the House-passed Homeland Security bill — far shy of the 60 supporters GOP leaders needed to move to a vote on final passage.
Every Senate Democrat voted against proceeding to the package, as did Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.).
It’s unclear how GOP leaders intend to proceed. Republican leaders in both chambers are under pressure to stand firm in opposition to Obama’s actions.
If Republicans are bluffing, they're playing right into the hands of Democrats.
Democrats, who are calling for a clean bill to fund the Homeland Security Department, have used every opportunity to hammer the Republicans for risking the nation's security to score political points with their conservative base.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday accused GOP leaders of “baying at the moon instead of honoring their responsibilities to protect [Americans].” And Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the Democratic whip, said there's zero chance the Republicans succeed in rolling back executive orders that Obama has vowed to defend with a veto.
“They knew that in December,” Hoyer said of GOP leaders. “Nobody doubts ... that this is all about the politics of dealing with their right wing. Period. Nothing else.”
And this time there's no dodging. Republicans control Congress, period, as they keep reminding us. If they shut down the DHS, they will pay the price.