Are Senate Republicans Hanging the House Out to Dry?

The House of Representatives has passed legislation that fully funds the Department of Homeland Security, except that it withholds funding to implement President Obama’s illegal and unconstitutional immigration fiats. Republican leadership in the Senate has tried to bring the House measure up for a vote three times, but each time the Democrats have filibustered it. The department is funded, I believe, through February 27. At that point the money begins to run out.

The Republicans hold the cards here. It is close to inconceivable that the Democrats would shut down the Department of Homeland Security by continuing to filibuster the department’s appropriation. Yet, if this account in the National Journal is correct, Senate Republicans may be preparing to fold a winning hand:

As the deadline to fund the Homeland Security Department nears, House and Senate Republicans agree on one thing: It’s the other chamber’s problem.

After pushing to pass the House’s DHS funding bill three times in recent weeks and not seeing an inch of movement from Democrats, the Senate majority returned to Washington this week without many options. Almost to a member, they now say the onus is on the House to come up with another plan—and on Democrats to avert putting the country in danger.

The House came up with the best possible plan. It is up to Senate Republicans to stick with it.

“We’ve had a week on it. We’ve had three cloture votes which have not succeeded. It’s clear we can’t get on the bill,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday. “We can’t offer amendments to the bill. … So the next move obviously is up to the House.”

House Republicans disagree. Speaker John Boehner has said repeatedly that the House has already acted to fund the Homeland Security Department and that the ball is now in McConnell’s court.

I generally have high regard for McConnell, and I find it hard to believe that he would let the Democrats bluff him on such an important issue. But perhaps his heart is with the Chamber of Commerce on immigration, rather than American workers. Jeff Sessions, call your office!

One Senate Republican who is standing tall is Mark Kirk of Illinois:

Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, who is up for reelection in blue Illinois in 2016, was more direct. “If they’re cynically trying to restart the government-shutdown battle, they should be blamed directly. … It’s a very dangerous game. If we have a successful terrorist attack—all the dead Americans from that should be laid at the feet of the Democratic caucus,” Kirk said. …

“In the end, they have to defend the country. They have sworn the allegiance to do that. They need to live up to their oaths of office,” Kirk said. “In the Democratic mind, politics is everything. I would say to them, politics is not everything. If you don’t have a country to defend, what is the purpose of politics?”

Amen. The Republican grass roots should exert all possible pressure on the Senate leadership to stand with the House of Representatives and insist on defunding Obama’s illegal amnesty.

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