Tag Archives: DHS funding

Speaker gets past this rocky road

House Speaker John Boehner has had more fun than what he experienced the past couple of weeks.

It’s been like, well, herding cats. His Republican caucus all but went into apoplexy over a plan to fund the Department of Homeland Security. The TEA party wing of the caucus remained dead set against it. Other Republicans joined with Democrats to fund DHS until September.

Without the money, DHS would have had to shut down; 30,000 federal employees would have been furloughed.

Crisis is averted. For now.


The speaker’s difficulty with his the TEA party cabal is far from over. I’ll just suggest that his fear will be that they’ll be so angry with him they might try to launch an intraparty insurrection to get Boehner removed from his post.

Who would get the gavel? Louie Gohmert, the East Texas chucklehead? Would it be Steve Scalise, the majority whip from Louisiana who once spoke to a David Duke-sponsored outfit?

My hunch is that Boehner will survive any possible rebellion.

But the vote to fund DHS now allows the House of Representatives to get on with more serious matters. Lawmakers ought to focus on things such as, oh, a budget, infrastructure legislation, some national security issues. You know, the stuff to which they all signed on to do on behalf of all Americans.

I’m glad the deal was struck. Boehner actually worked with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the despised former speaker. That, by itself, might be cause for the TEA party wing of the GOP to break out the pitchforks and torches.

Isn’t governing fun, Mr. Speaker?

Governing looks like the old way

So, this is what the new style of governing looks like on Capitol Hill.

Republicans control both legislative houses. The Senate wants to move away from the stalemate over funding the Department of Homeland Security; it wants to vote on a “clean” funding bill that doesn’t contain measures to strip out President Obama’s executive action on immigration. The House of Representatives — led by its TEA party coalition — wants to stick it to Obama.


Neither side can persuade the other chamber that their way is the right way.

We’re stuck.

Ain’t governing fun?

House Speaker John Boehner is having a difficult time corralling the rebels in his GOP caucus. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has done a better job of taking control of the Senate.

DHS has enough money to function until Friday. Then¬†lawmakers either (a) vote on yet another short-term deal or (b) vote on a “clean” bill that might just anger the House TEA party rabble rousers enough to try to oust Boehner as speaker.

Meanwhile, the agency charged with protecting our borders from oh, you know, drug smugglers and terrorists is being kicked around like an unwanted critter.

This isn’t the way it was supposed to work when Republicans took control of government’s legislative branch.

WSJ gives congressional GOP a swift kick

When the men and women who run Capitol Hill — the Republicans — lose The Wall Street Journal, then they’ve lost their most critical media ally.

I’m not suggesting the WSJ has abandoned the GOP majority, but the paper’s conservative editorial page — one of the best opinion pages in the country — turns on you, then you’d better pay attention.


I’ve long admired the WSJ editorial writers for the way they express themselves. I disagree with the paper’s editorial policy, but few editorial pages say it better than the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ editors are angry at what they’re calling the GOP “Cliff Marchers,” the faction of Republicans who are intent on making some political point than in any actually governing.

As Politico reports about the WSJ’s scolding: “House Republicans refuse to fund¬†(Department of Homeland Security)¬†without forcing the president to dismantle the changes (in Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration), while Senate Republicans do not believe they can win the standoff. The Senate voted last week to fund the department through the end of the fiscal year without altering the president‚Äôs immigration orders, but the House has not yet agreed to take up the bill.”

The WSJ writes: ‚ÄúRepublicans need to do some soul searching about the purpose of a Congressional majority, including whether they even want it.‚ÄĚ

The Journal argues that Congress should go fund DHS and move on to bigger issues, such as the budget. The paper believes the president’s immigration order — in which he delays deportation of millions of undocumented residents — will be settled by the courts.

It’s good advice. Are you listening, GOP members of Congress? Get busy and start governing.


What became of a strong House speaker?

John Boehner seems like a decent enough fellow. I’ve long thought of him as someone whose instincts lead him toward working with Democrats, not against them.

But the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives has this problem: It is that some of his fellow Republicans don’t like working with the other party. There seems to be enough of those types to make governing quite difficult for the once-affable speaker.


Boehner today¬†said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the House is a rambunctious place. It’s full of members with competing ideas on how to get things done. He said “I think” I can lead the House.

Interesting, yes? Well, yes.

The speaker was handed a big defeat this past week when the House defeated his plan to fund the Department of Homeland Security for three weeks. The “rambunctious caucus” of the House, aka the TEA party wing, bolted from his idea, along with a number of Democrats. Some last-minute scrambling enabled the House to approve a DHS funding bill that expires at the end of this week. Then we get to do this all over again.

I’m trying to imagine how past speakers would handle all this rambunctiousness. Would Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas allow it? How about Speaker Tip O’Neill of Massachusetts? Hey, do you think Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia would stand still for this foolishness?

These three gentlemen — two Democrats and a Republican — were among the stronger-willed men to run the House. They all governed with considerable effectiveness. Their secret? My belief is that they all knew how to work with members of the “other party.” They also worked well with presidents of the other party, working overtime to search for common ground.

Speaker Boehner is being whipsawed by his own caucus. It’s not a pretty sight.

By definition, Speaker Boehner is the Man of the Entire House, not just of his or her political party. The partisan roles are filled by the majority leader and the majority whip of the party in charge. The speaker, though, is supposed to look after the interests of all House members.

Boehner has to figure out a way — in a big hurry — to get the rowdy bunch in line.

I have an idea: Pick up the phone, call Newt Gingrich and ask¬†him: “Newt, how in the world can I corral these clowns?”

House members reaching into Senate affairs

It’s downright fun to watch members of one congressional body suggest the way members of the other congressional body should do their job.

Let’s presume that the upper chamber, the Senate, would prefer that the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, mind its own business.

House conservatives push McConnell to gut filibuster

Then again, they’re all on the same team, yes? They’re all interested in doing what’s right and correct for the country, aren’t they?

Maybe so. Maybe not.

U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, thinks the Senate should change its filibuster rules to strip power from Democrats. He wants Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to invoke the so-called “nuclear option” by not allowing Democrats to filibuster GOP-sponsored bills to death. The issue at hand is the Department of Homeland Security funding measure that’s being kicked to death on the floors of both chambers.

Remember when then-Majority Leader Harry Reid did the same thing when Republicans were in the minority? You’d have thought GOP senators’ heads would explode.

Now the fortunes are reversed. The GOP controls the Senate, along with the House. But among the Republican majority there exists a restive band of malcontents, the TEA party caucus, that wants to shake things up not only in their own body, but in the other one as well.

That’s where Labrador and fellow House TEA party insurgent Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., are seeking this change in Senate rules.

Someone needs to inform both of these young men about the institutional rivalry that exists between these two bodies. Senators represent their entire states and serve for six years. Those House members represent certain congressional districts, which have been gerrymandered — more than likely — to elect people of certain ideological stripes; they’re elected to mere two-year terms.

The Senate considers itself a more deliberative body; the House by nature is more raucous. Senators likely won’t admit to it, but they look down their noses at their House colleagues.

Thus, it is at some peril that Reps. Labrador and Huelskamp seek to tell the folks at the other end of the Capitol Building how to conduct their business.

Tread carefully, fellas.


Speaker's future suddenly gets cloudy

It might be that a supposition put forward to me months ago by someone close to House Speaker John Boehner might be panning out.

Boehner might want to throw in the towel on his effort to be the Man of the House. He might just quit and go home.

The speaker got a swift kick in the face yesterday as House Republicans teamed up with Democrats to defeat a short-term funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security. Those TEA party Rs remain angry with President Obama over his immigration-related executive action — which granted temporary delay in deportation of 5 million illegal immigrants — so they want to defund the DHS to stick it in Obama’s ear.


Boehner sought to stave off a DHS shutdown. The measure failed, but then the House and Senate came up with a one-week funding plan. We’ll be back at this at the end of next week.

So … now the chatter has turned to whether Boehner could be tossed out by the raucous Republican rabble-rousers. Twenty-five GOP members voted against Boehner to be speaker when the new Congress convened. Others might join the anti-Boehner parade.

That source I mentioned who had said he thought Boehner might pack it in was speculating about whether the speaker could contain the rebel wing of his party. His thought this past fall was that Boehner would be re-elected as speaker, then he would resign from Congress and do something else — such as become a lobbyist or a K Street consultant.

I shudder at the thought of someone from that TEA party wing — and I’m thinking of East Texan Louie Gohmert, who actually sought the speakership against Boehner — taking control of the House gavel.

Given the wackiness that hasn’t gone away, absolutely nothing at all would surprise me.

Let’s all watch this one play out.


'Delusional wing' of GOP stalls DHS funding


That’s the only word I can think of to describe what’s happened today in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A majority of the House rejected a plan to keep the Department of Homeland Security functioning for the next three weeks.


The Senate had approved a bill to fund the agency until September. Senators had agreed to strip out provisions aimed at stopping President Obama’s executive order on illegal immigrations, which House and Senate TEA party members detest passionately.

So House, given a chance to keep DHS operating — and protecting our borders against the bad guys — went along with what Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., called the “delusional wing” of the GOP. It stopped the funding measure.

This is no way to run a government. It’s no way to take the reins of power, which Republicans did when they took command of the Senate in January. The GOP now controls both legislative chambers and this is the result they’ve produced on the first big showdown of the new congressional session.

House Speaker John Boehner has lost control of the body he’s supposed to lead.

The House of Representatives, early in this new era, has disgraced itself.


Preposterous plan saves DHS, for now

Roger Daltrey sang it loudly at the end of The Who classic, “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!”

Republicans had vowed to govern better than Democrats did when they took over both congressional chambers at the beginning of the year. That vow is in jeopardy.

Why? The House of Representatives, which the GOP has controlled since 2011, is going to fund the Department of Homeland Security — but only until March 19. Then the House and Senate will have deal once again with imminent closure because of Republican anger over an executive action taken by President Obama to deal with illegal immigration.


Congress appears ready to avoid a shutdown at the end of today. The GOP-run Senate wants to approve a funding measure that doesn’t include a provision to strip the executive order of its authority. The GOP-run House, though, isn’t ready to swill that Kool-Aid.

What a terrible way to run the government. A Band-Aid here and there. Then we return to the same crisis mode that sends everyone’s blood pressure through the ceiling.

Obama sought to delay deportation of 5 million illegal immigrants. Congress didn’t like that the president acted alone, even though his predecessors have done so on the same issue over the years.

Republicans are so intent on stopping the deportation order that they’re threatening to de-fund the very agency, the Department of Homeland Security, that is charged with protecting the nation against bad guys trying to sneak into the country.

What kind of governance is that?

The new boss is no better than the old boss.



GOP plays with fire over DHS funding

Congressional Republicans — and Democrats, for that matter — keep insisting that national security should be above partisan politics.

What, then, is going on with GOP threats to shut down the Department of Homeland Security because its congressional caucus is so upset with President Obama’s executive order on immigration?


Good bleeping grief, people! The Homeland Security department, as its very name says, is charged with protecting the United States against internal and external threats. The 9/11 terrorist onslaught produced the agency, correct?

Now, though, it’s becoming a political football, being kicked around Capitol Hill by congressional Republicans who just cannot get over the notion that the president acted within his constitutional authority to delay the deportation of several million undocumented immigrants.

They are threatening to sue Obama over his action. They want to repeal it. They are insisting that he acted unlawfully. Yet no one has produced a shred of evidence to suggest that the president acted outside of the authority granted him by federal statute and the Constitution of the United States of America.

DHS money is going to run out on Feb. 27 unless Congress approves money to pay for it.

The House of Representatives has approved money for DHS, but have added some amendments stripping the president’s executive action of its authorization. Senate Democrats object to the GOP amendments and have held up the appropriation, drawing criticism — quite naturally — from House Republicans. Speaker John Boehner said the GOP has done its job; now it’s up to Senate Democrats.

That’s all fine, except Senate Democrats object to GOP complaints about the executive actions on immigration, which were legal and constitutional.

Thus, the gamesmanship.

What in the world has happened to good government?