House Democrats Join Restrictionists in Rejecting the Three-Week DHS Funding Extension

They wanted to give Republicans rope to hang themselves


House Republicans want to hang themselves — and their Democratic colleagues just supplied them the rope. Many

Border Kids

Democrats joined restrictionist Republicans to kill 203-224 a three-week funding extension of the Department of Homeland Security, which means that the agency might shutdown tonight when its funding runs out. (For why this is no tragedy read Nick Gillespie's piece here and my column here.) But why did the Democrats do this?

Officially, because they want to stand on principle and vote only on the clean full-year funding bill that the Senate passed this morning with no poison pills stripping money for President Obama's immigration executive action.

Unofficially, because they want to give Republicans more time to make a fool of themselves before they come back to the table, heads hanging.

House Republicans have no endgame here, and the Democrats know it. They couldn't get Senate Republicans to pass their bill funding the DHS but defunding the executive order because the GOP doesn't have a filibuster-proof majority in that chamber. Senate Democrats managed to remain pretty united in their opposition, forcing Sen. Mitch McConnell to back down. And even if the McConnell had managed to push such a bill through the Senate, the president would have vetoed it.

So now House Republicans' options are to pass something along what the Senate has passed right away or after throwing a few more tantrums, just as they did with the debt ceiling fight in 2013. (They shut down the government then rather than raise the ceiling, only to capitulate later after public opinion squarely turned against them, just as it will this time too.)

The Wall Street Journal reports that the House leadership is weighing an even shorter-term funding bill, which might get more Republican support. The only reason why that would be the case is that restrictionists were not expecting to actually succeed in killing the three-week funding extension because they didn't think Democrats would vote for it. So now that the Democrats have called their bluff and basically dared them to shut down the DHS, a shorter-term funding bill will give restrictionists a face-saving way out of the jam.

But that will just mean that instead of shutting down the DHS now, they'll shut it whenever that funding extension ends—unless they come to their senses then, which they'll have to eventually.

They have a better shot of running out the clock on the executive action by burying it in lawsuits, as I wrote earlier this week, but that route gives them fewer opportunities for brinksmanship and grandstanding to impress their "anti amnesty" base.

So enjoy some good political theater over the next few weeks.

NEXT: Congressional Democrats Climate Change Investigation: Witchhunt or McCarthyism?

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  1. Yes, we’re all doing to die tomorrow if the worthless DHS is shut down for a few days.

    If we don’t die from not passing a carbon tax first.

    Shut the DHS down now and permanently, along with about 90% of other unnecessary alphabet soup agencies.

    Am I at Reason or Salon?

    1. No, no, no she’s not concerned about shutting it down. She’s concerned about the Republicans. See, it’s very concerning.

    2. Oh noes, what if the TSA goons can’t feel people up and look at their naked images for a few days?!? WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!

      1. Meh – diddling a few thousand sets of hojos everyday will be deemed “essential” because, evidently, it’s the one thing suicide bombers fear. What will really be frightening is to see how many will want to do it when they’re not getting paid for it.

    3. Am I at Reason or Salon?

      Good question.

    4. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has noticed that it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish this joint from all the liberal media outlets out there. Isn’t it starting to become irritating?

      1. That’s one the more reassuring things about libertarians. Even if they someday manage to come into power, nobody will ever notice the difference.

        Libertarians: Radicals for the Status Quo!

  2. Shut it down. Please.

  3. (They shutdown the government then rather than raise the ceiling, only to capitulate later after public opinion squarely turned against them, just as it will this time too.)

    unless they come to their senses then

    Lack of self-awareness is stunning.

    1. All that sounds terrible. I dont follow politics much, what happened after that? I assume because the polls said that the Republicans behavior was unpopular that they must have lost badly in the next election, right?

  4. Why would public opinion turn against people who shut down DHS? Are you of the belief that Homeland Security is popular?

    1. The number of people who think the only thing between safety and this is the DHS is huge.

  5. Yawn.

  6. No, fuck you, cut spending.

    1. There’s nothing left to cut!

      1. The cupboard is bare!

  7. So enjoy some good political theater over the next few weeks.

    Only if funding is not forthcoming.

    Of course, it’s political theater all the way down.

  8. This article makes no sense from a libertarian perspective.

    Regardless of the merits of immigration, any excuse to shut down the unnecessary and tyrannical DHS, temporarily or permanently, is a good excuse. May the stalemate last for the rest of Obama’s term of office.

    1. This article makes no sense from a libertarian perspective.

      I think I found your problem:

      Shikha Dalmia

    2. Do you remember the last shutdown? That one was over the debt ceiling. You’d think Reason would be in favor of not raising the debt ceiling AND shutting down nonessential services. Instead, we got a double dose of concern trolling.

  9. Shikha is just parroting the Progressive Theocracy in blaming the Republicans instead of the filibustering Senate Democrats.

    That a “libertarian” web site is complaining that the Republicans won’t supply status quo funding to DHS shows how far the termites have spread around here.

    Reason – going Proggy since about the middle of 2014.

    1. Please.bbit dates back to the Postrel era.

    2. In 2009 several editors were whining about the minority “obstructionist Republicans” holding up the Light-bringer’s nominees. Nick and Balko, anyways.

  10. “Restrictionists”, eh. Nothing like making up a pejorative name for those who disagree with you.

  11. I was one of Dalmia’s defenders, but this is a terrible article. DHS is not popular and frankly speaking, neither is immigration, however in favor of it I might be personally. And that last shutdown failed so spectacularly it gave the GOP it’s greatest victory in 80 years.

  12. You know, I usually don’t rag on Dalmia, but holy shit is this a terrible article. It doesn’t matter what your feelings are on immigration, Obama should not be pushing anything through executive fiat. And who the fuck cares if DHS is defunded, extra gravy I say.

    Also: Fuck you, cut spending.

  13. House Republicans have no endgame here

    How about just letting DHS die?

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