Boehner to McConnell on potential DHS shutdown: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that GOP House Speaker John Boehner is on board with letting funding for the Department of Homeland Security lapse at the end of the month. Meaning, DHS will for all intents and purposes shut down (other than emergency operations).

When pressed on Fox News Sunday as to whether he was willing to let such a critical department shut down, Boehner replied: “certainly.”

Boehner’s rhetorical shoulder shrug ignores the fact that the House’s version of the funding bill, which fully undoes President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, has about the same chance of getting 60 votes in the Senate as Rick Perry has of becoming President (or even remembering much of the race).

From the Times:

The House measure stands no chance of becoming law. Senate Democrats have filibustered it; Mr. Obama has said he would veto it; and even some Senate Republicans, including John McCain of Arizona, have questioned the wisdom of the House’s unyielding position, raising doubts that the bill would get even 51 Republican votes in the Senate.

If the House and Senate can’t come to an agreement on how to fund the department, it will prove that McConnell’s “no government shutdowns” pledge was meaningless.

But we knew that already.

Did anyone actually believe that House Republicans would stop trying to pass their agenda by tying it to essential funding bills — holding basic, routine governance hostage — just because partisan control in the Senate flipped? If anything, the electoral gains would likely only embolden the far-right of the GOP, and it has.

Keep in mind that, as far as the Tea Party is concerned, Boehner, McConnell and any other Republicans who aren’t willing to strap on legislative dynamite before they walk into the Capitol are de-facto Democrats. They are not to be trusted and are certainly not to be listened to. So expect critical government anti-terror agencies to be shut down later this month, along with whatever was left of our functioning democracy.

But setting aside for the moment the fact that we totally saw this coming, it’s at least odd that the showdown is over this particular funding bill. As plenty of Republicans have already pointed out, the Department of Homeland Security is the wrong hill for them to die on: Security and terrorism have been in the news more often than usual recently — the last week saw terrorist attacks in Paris, and at a base in Iraq where U.S. marines were training — and Republicans are responding by playing politics with the agency responsible for, you know, preventing those terror attacks.

And this from the party that’s supposed to be “good” on defense.

If the DHS shuts down over immigration, Republicans will certainly take the blame, and they will be blamed for being both incapable of, and unserious about, governing. After all, given a choice between waging a Quixotic war against Obama on immigration, and keeping Americans safe, Republicans are picking the windmills.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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22 Responses to “Boehner to McConnell on potential DHS shutdown: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯”

  1. cinorjer says:

    Thing is, the Tea Party Congress doesn’t care if the nation crashes and burns. They have their voters trained to ignore reality and blame Obama no matter what they do. After all, they shut down the government and won even more seats, didn’t they? If we have a terrorism attack while DHS is shut down, they’ll just parade the usual suspects on Fox News to blame Obama and continue gutting whatever social programs their own voters have left.

    Then next election, they’ll remind their gerrymandered voters that gays and Muslims are trying to take over the nation with the help of Democrats and get re-elected. When an elected official stops having to worry about the voter and only worries about big donor campaign money, a democracy is dead in all but name.

    But hey, we had a great 200 years.

  2. Naja pallida says:

    Joe Lieberman and Arlen Specter were the ones who introduced the legislation to create the DHS, which should have been the first clue that it was a terrible idea, but the Democrats pushed for it. Bush initially rejected it, but upon being apprised of how it would greatly expand government overreach, he changed his mind and adopted it wholesale. Which should have been the second clue that it was a terrible idea.

  3. emjayay says:

    I think cutting taxes for the rich and corporations is also the Republican solution to their sudden concern for inequality, and was also their solution for paying down the national debt too fast at the beginning of Bush II. I detect a pattern.

  4. Bill_Perdue says:

    Democrats are not cowards. They are complicit in every attempt to pauperize working people from Carters deregulation, to Clintons gutting welfare and his active
    support for NAFTA and the deregulation bills of 1999 and 2000, which he championed and signed.

    TARP was not a plan, it was a number pulled out of thin air by Bushes Secretary of the Treasury, Paulsen. It’s support was bipartisan. After the elections, Obama, Reid and Pelosi took the lead in passing TARP. It’s the Republicans who were cowardly, afraid of being branded as the party of big business and fearing a voter backlash. If I remember correctly they abstained on Friday but then voted for TARP again on Sunday or Monday, when it passed. Obama, during the time when Democrats controlled both houses did little to help the unemployed and totally abandoned the huge numbers of people made homeless by predatory housing loans.

    TARP was not a plan, it was a number pulled out of thin air by Bushes Secretary of the Treasury, Paulsen. It’s support was bipartisan.

    Given all the failures of the Democrats to limit the damage of unemployment, underemployment and homelessness, their union busting, their broken promises on ending the wars, passing ENDA and repealing Bill Clintons DOMA it’s no wonder that their vote collapsed in 2010. 30m million 2008 Obama voters abandoned them and many of the activists who worked for Obama in 2008 went on to found the occupy movement.

  5. Indigo says:

    The DHS is close enough to non-functional harassment of the public anyhow. I’d be more comfortable if they dismantle that sad legacy of Bush2, but just crippling it is a good start.

  6. rmthunter says:

    Depends on whether Hillary can generate some enthusiasm on the left.

  7. rmthunter says:

    Nobody’s interested in rebuilding it, although expanding its scope is probably not out of the question.

    The irony is, remember who created it?

  8. rmthunter says:

    As I recall, it was the Republicans who first blocked and then whittled down Obama’s stimulus package, blocked extension of unemployment benefits, and tried to cut back on public assistance in general. Their solution to the Bush Recession was to cut taxes for the rich. Obama and the Democrats aren’t blameless, if you can blame a jellyfish for not having a spine, but don’t lay it all at their feet. (TARP was a big mistake, but it wouldn’t have passed without Republican cooperation — they’re always willing to throw money at banks.)

  9. Butch1 says:

    Good point.

  10. BeccaM says:

    They also agree on “Repeal Obamacare!” and “Benghaziiiiiiiiii!”

  11. BeccaM says:

    Oh I don’t know Butch. Between the massive GOP gerrymandering and the Dems’ habit of running on nothing but “Vote for us because we’re not Republicans”, I have to wonder.

  12. Polterguest says:

    I won’t hold my breath for that to ever happen.

  13. Butch1 says:

    If they continue on this path, they will be out on their behinds come 2016. No one will trust their leadership especially if something happens during the interim if the government has been shut-down because of their game.

  14. Don Chandler says:

    as much as I agree with you, the republican dominated congress will be doing the rebuilding.

  15. Houndentenor says:

    Maybe if Democrats would start shaping the narrative rather than just reacting defensively as if they are ashamed of their own platform, they could get out ahead of this bullshit for once. This is why I constantly complain about Reid and Pelosi and Obama too for that matter. When are we going to get some actual leadership?

  16. nicho says:

    DHS is a bloated nightmare of a bureaucracy that has been an utter failure. It is big government at its worst. Maybe this will give us a chance to dismantle it and rebuild it.

  17. caphillprof says:

    Sooner or later the Democrats must refuse to negotiate and allow the nation to go to hell.

  18. Polterguest says:

    The sad part is, no matter what happens in this situation, the Republicans will still be able to paint the Democrats as being soft on security and terrorism and being the ones that use the “nation’s security” as a political tool. And, of course, the Democrats and the so-called left-leaning mainstream media will let them keep pushing that false narrative.

  19. Houndentenor says:

    The problem with dealing with “people” like the Teabaggers is that we care about our country and they do not. They’d just as soon the country go to pieces if they can’t get what they want. We on the other hand would be willing to compromise to keep things moving. Someone needs to ask Boehner and McConnell why they hate America so much.

  20. Bill_Perdue says:

    Last time the Republicans controlled congress they were dysfunctional and produced a record crop of indictments of members of Congress and an attitude of general contempt for Congress that hasn’t improved since.

    Then in 2006 the Democrats won and proceeded to pass TARP, ignore the plight of millions thrown out of work, ignore the pressing need to pass an ENDA/CRA or repeal Bill Clintons DOMA and succumb to bribes by passing Obama care.

    In the years from 2006 to 2010 Congressional approval was often in the teens. Maybe this time the polls will show them below 10% on a permanent basis. The Democrat/Republican government of by and for the rich is becoming more dysfunctional by the hour.

  21. mf_roe says:

    The only thing the Repugs are capable of agreeing on is that Obama is Black.

    They seem to be totally oblivious to the fact that if they shutdown Homeland Security and ANYTHING happens they just bought the blame. I consider huge chunks of Homeland Security to be vile tyranny, but many legitimate functions are at risk. I am sure the Repugs are irrational enough to commit this stupid stunt, I just hope we all don’t pay a REAL PRICE for it.

  22. Bob Munck says:

    I wonder if conservatives on this site are beginning to understand why we weren’t terribly concerned about Republicans taking over the Senate.

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