Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Not willing to shoot the hostage

I'm not certain what annoys me more: The fact Congressional Republicans caved or how their caving continues to feed the WIBERTY! chanting points on how there's no difference between Democrats and the Republicans.

Congress is sending President Barack Obama a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security through the end of the budget year, without overturning the president's immigration policies.

The House on Tuesday voted 257-167 for the measure that Obama is expected to sign. Without action, funding for the department would have expired Friday at midnight.

The outcome was a victory for Obama and Democrats, and a defeat for the GOP strategy of trying to overturn Obama's executive actions on immigration by linking them to funding for Homeland.

Republicans were unable to overcome united opposition from Senate Democrats to their strategy. They also suffered embarrassing internal divisions that left the country within hours of a partial agency shutdown last week.

The GOP has no one but themselves to blame for this debacle. When Obama overstepped his authority in November by issuing an order to ignore certain immigration laws on the books, GOP leadership threatened to allow DHS funding to lapse if said funding bill didn't contain a provision voiding Obama's executive order. The problem you have when making such a threat is you have to be willing to go all the way. Naturally, Congressional Republicans are a little gun shy about letting things lapse given they bore the brunt of the blame for the October 2013 shutdown and still got no concessions whatsoever when the Federal government reconvened.

As of this moment, however, Obama's executive order has been halted by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, though the U.S. Government is asking for a stay to be granted while the appeals process takes place (It appears unlikely that Hanen will grant the stay). In essence, this is what House Speaker John Boehner conveyed to the GOP caucus, saying that Obama's E.O. will be tied up in the courts, so voting for a "clean DHS funding bill" does not necessarily mean a vote for executive amnesty. Nevertheless, more than 2/3 of the Republican House members still voted "Nay" (so much for the Hastert Rule).

In the end, there was no way President Obama was going to sign a bill that undermined his own Executive Order (regardless if it's unpopular), especially since he never has to go through another election process. It was utterly foolish for the GOP to even suggest tying Obama's executive amnesty to the DHS funding if they had no plan B in place.

This whole fight between a one-party Congress and a president in the opposite political party is reminiscent of the final two years of the George W. Bush administration. The Democrats' 2006 campaign was to run against the war in Iraq, essentially playing on the weariness Americans felt with the conflict. It succeeded, as the Dems took control of both the House and Senate. However, they didn't immediately rush out and demand the Iraq war not be funded knowing full well it would appear they were abandoning our armed services personnel. As such, the Dem controlled Congress continued to pass no-strings-attached war funding bills, much to the chagrin of voters who put them in control. But a message was sent that the only way they could really bring the troops home was to have all Democrat rule in Washington, which happened when Obama was elected in 2008. We all know what ensued after that.

My point here is it appears not a whole lot will get done unless there's a Republican in the White House (assuming the GOP maintains its majority in Congress - not a sure thing) come January 2017. In the mean time, Republicans are pinning their hopes on the third coequal branch of government defying Obama's executive orders. As we learned with Obamacare in 2012, leaving it to the courts is a risky proposition.


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