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As consequences of Homeland Security shutdown become clearer, Congress looks to deal

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he will offer up a Homeland Security funding bill alongside, but separate from, a measure to defund Obama’s executive actions.

They followed Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who took to the floor Monday and pointedly called on Republicans to drop their immigration concerns and fund the department.

“Rather than acting to protect my state from the threat, there are people who are actively contemplating a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security — the Department we created after 9/11 to protect our homeland, to protect our country from these kinds of terrorist threats,” Klobuchar said. “The people in my state are standing tall when it comes to this threat, and our law enforcement is standing tall when it comes to this threat, but in Congress our message to these terrorists cannot be that we are going to shut down the Department of Homeland Security. That cannot be the message coming from the Senate of the United States of America.”

On Tuesday, Johnson wouldn’t expand on his weekend statement that shoppers be “particularly careful” going to the Mall of America (Officials later clarified to say there was no specific threat to the mall, despite the video). On the broader matter of an expanded terror threat without DHS funding, Johnson said that an “independent actor could strike any community with little or not notice to our intelligence community,” making the department’s coordination with local officials all the more important.

McConnell charts a path forward

Congress usually — eventually — finds its way out of its (self-inflicted) budget quandaries, and there’s already an effort underway to do that this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he will offer up a Homeland Security funding bill alongside, but separate from, a measure to defund Obama’s executive actions. The plan would mean Congress could pass Homeland Security’s funding to avoid a shutdown, then fight over the immigration actions separately. It also means Democrats could still oppose Republicans’ immigration measures — and Obama could veto them — without threating Homeland Security funding, preserving the status quo over Republican objections.

The House would then have to take up a “clean” funding bill, something that could enrage conservatives deeply opposed to the executive actions. But House Speaker John Boehner has a history of cutting budget deals without buy-in from his right flank. A spokesman for Boehner put out a statement Monday that didn’t endorse or indict McConnell’s plan, saying instead that it would force Democrats to go on the record for or against the executive actions without Homeland Security funding on the line. In the past, Boehner had said that the House has ruled on the question of immigration and Homeland Security by passing its bill to fund the department while gutting Obama’s immigration executive actions, and the problem was now the Senate’s.

Despite weeks worth of finger pointing between the House and Senate, Johnson said he’s optimistic lawmakers will find a way to cut a deal before the shutdown clock hits zero.

“Almost everybody agrees that the Department of Homeland Security should be funded, one way or another,” he said. “We’ve heard from various members of congressional leadership that we are not going to let a shutdown happen. That’s what I continue to hear.”

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 02/25/2015 - 11:19 am.

    The Republicans have control

    It is the Republicans time to show leadership and what do they do, continue to create self inflicted wounds on there quest to reach the bottom. Trying to show leadership all they are able to do is prove they don’t have any, anywhere in the party. Desperation is not a pretty sight. McConnell and Boehner are perfect examples why there should be term limits for all politicians. After about two terms they get so much baggage they can’t work with anyone. Fifty plus attempts to repeal The Affordable Care Act. Boehner, many times, has said they are working on a replacement. To date NOTHING. They have spent at least six years doing nothing but throwing up fear balloons hoping something will stick. They have less than two years to prove their leadership claims because the next election will be much tougher than the last one as many more voters will be out. It is hard to see any progress for them in the absence of leadership.

  2. Submitted by jason myron on 02/25/2015 - 01:28 pm.

    Of course they can’t govern…

    They’ve allowed ideologues to take over their party. They’re more interested in hating the other side than actually accomplishing anything.
    If you can stomach it, take a gander at the comment sections of places like Redstate or Hotair. They’re outraged that Obama and Holder haven’t yet been rousted from the White House, tried, convicted and scheduled for execution during Hannity’s show. McConnell and Boehner are hated just as much.
    It’s the end result of twenty years of right wing radio propaganda that has portrayed their neighbors and former friends as enemies of the state for being of a different political bent.

    • Submitted by cory johnson on 02/26/2015 - 10:31 am.


      That all one has to do is look at comments on HuffPo to see the equal amounts of “love” leftists display for conservatives. Please

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/26/2015 - 10:12 am.

    This is what I don’t get:

    Why don’t we shut the airports down? Look, people elected these guys to govern so why should voters be immune to the consequences? The department shuts down but the workers keep working? No. TSA workers are only essential security assets as long a planes are flying, shut down the airports and you don’t need TSA workers.

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