Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats Vote to Shut Down DHS; Time for GOP to Play Hardball
Harry Reid (D-NV) and his Senate Democrats voted to shut down the Department of Homeland Security today.
The piece of legislation they voted down was a Republican bill to fund DHS for the rest of the fiscal year with the caveat that no funds could be spent implementing President Barack Obama’s unilateral immigration amnesty. Currently, the DHS budget is set to expire at the end of February.
The decision probably didn’t involve too much deliberation or anguish since Reid & Co. can count on a sympathetic media to frame the result as Republican obstruction, i.e. not letting Obama and the Democratic Party run roughshod over federal law to curry favor with millions of potential future voters.
If anything Reid and his allies probably think they helped Obama save face by shielding him from having to veto common sense legislation for naked political reasons. Now, Obama can blame Congress for not working, even though it’s the members of his own party that are throwing up roadblocks.
One thing that is clear is that Reid never would have whipped his entire caucus in opposition unless Obama had authorized it. So, call this an indirect veto of Republicans’ immigration funding maneuver and we’re right where we would have been had the bill passed and been rejected.
Obama and Reid play on the same team, so Republicans can’t let the media portray this as anything other than what it is – a high stakes dispute over whether policy gets decided according to the rule of law or the whim of one.
If the president wants to start the negotiating process earlier than expected, so be it. Republicans in Congress shouldn’t use this an excuse to cave.
There had to be a strategy to overcome the veto, at least in the court of public opinion. After today’s vote, it’s time to accelerate the time line.