Saturday, February 28, 2015

GOP Cave on DHS: One Week Funding Approved

President Obama is head of the executive branch of the Federal government. He has, like it or not, pretty expansive powers to direct or change the enforcement priorities of the executive branch. Arguably he has exceeded those powers in his latest executive immigration policy. The courts will end up making that decision. However the legislative branch, has, like it or not, the authority to determine what the budget is and on what it may be spent. In its own way this power is just as awesome as that of the President. Reckless or not, Congress has the ability to defund executive actions that it does not like. Ultimately this is what happened with the Vietnam War. However for either the President or Congress to effectively wield those powers which they possess they must be willing to say "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" and ignore objections to valid use of those powers. For all the criticism which President Obama has received, some valid, some not, for being a weak vacillating mouse of a man who is too eager to find common ground where there isn't any, on this executive action on illegal immigration, it turns out that at least to this point he's the one with the intestinal fortitude. Faced with the reality of what a DHS shutdown would mean to the country, DHS employees, and to their poll numbers Senate and House Republicans blinked, approving a one week DHS funding bill. President Obama signed the legislation last night.


The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted today to fund the Department of Homeland Security through the end of the budget year — without any restrictions on immigration. The vote is a victory for President Obama as Republicans had wanted to strip funding for the president's executive actions on immigration from the bill.

The measure now heads to President Obama, who is expected to sign it.

Two hours before a midnight deadline, Congress has narrowly averted a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security for one week, setting up another funding showdown for next Friday.

Hours before a midnight deadline, the House easily approved a one-week extension of the funding. The vote was 357-60. It required two-thirds of members' support to pass.

President Barack Obama later signed the bill.
The move means that DHS will not experience a shutdown at midnight, but it also fails to resolve the impasse created when the House initially lashed together the agency's budget and so-called "riders" that would gut the president's immigration proposals. Some House conservatives said that Obama's actions are unconstitutional and must be stopped - even at the cost of a DHS funding lapse.

This raises the question of what is going to change in one week? So are the Republicans going to throw another temper tantrum and then cave again? Wash, Rinse and Repeat? Another one week extension? What happened to the so-called tough guys who were going to stop the "Kenyan usurper" in his tracks? I'm joking but there are some conservative activists who are asking that very question. Erick Erickson had a bizarre and amusing full gay panic meltdown over at Redstate over the approaching Republican cave-in. The fact that when it came down to it the President was not bluffing while many Republicans were is useful information for future negotiations. There is no reason to take Republican threats seriously because they've shown again and again that they lack follow through. This is basic game theory stuff. If you don't or won't do what you threatened you were going to do your power is much diminished. And by power here I mean masculinity as so much of this fight was understood by all concerned as a brutal test of willpower and manhood. It is of course possible that in one week the Republicans will find a spinal column but if I were the President I would be betting otherwise. Time will tell. Perhaps the Republicans will be so ashamed of their approval of the one week clean bill that they will feel cornered and not back down next time. But again all we know right now is that the Republicans are just like a dull knife that just ain't cutting. They're just talking loud and saying nothing as Soul Brother Number One might have pointed out.

What are your thoughts?

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