House Passes Clean DHS Funding Bill: Republicans Divide Themselves Instead of Democrats

They passed a clean bill with no poison pills against the Obama executive order


As I had predicted last Friday, House Republicans would come to their senses and pass a clean bill to fund the

Thomas Hawk / Foter / CC BY-NC

Department of Homeland Security for the rest of the year without poison pills blocking implementation of President Obama's executive order deferring deportation for some 4.6 million undocumented workers.

And so they just did. As per The Wall Street Journal:

The House passed the measure 257-167, going along with a Senate plan that it had rejected just days earlier…

The final vote, and even bringing the bill to the House floor, represented a big concession by House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and a recognition of the realities that one-party rule in Congress doesn't mean the GOP will have an easy time pushing through its policies…

After Mr. Boehner broke the news that he would bring the Senate bill up for a vote on Tuesday, many Republicans filtered out of the meeting with their heads hanging low. Some of the conservatives who had been most outspoken in their opposition to the Senate plan declined to comment.

The conservatives were back fighting by the afternoon, in a rare intraparty debate on the House floor, where many rose up to deliver in public messages that they have shared with each other in private. As moderates defended the decision to pass a homeland security funding bill without immigration language, conservatives challenged the Republican leadership's arguments that the party needed to show it could govern.

None of this is surprising. However, what's noteworthy is just how out-of-touch restrictionists are with political reality. Their calculation was that by using DHS funding as leverage, they'll put pressure on Democrats to abandon the president's executive order. The exact opposite happened: Instead of dividing Democrats, their tactics divided the GOP. That's because there are plenty of Republicans who can't afford to alienate their Hispanic swing voters.

The Obama order is still not out of the woods given that a Texas judge has blocked it for now. And if the administration doesn't extricate it from the courts soon, the clock might well run out on it.

So Republicans might yet win this battle, but only at the price of losing the war. Their harsh anti-immigration rhetoric and policies was one reason they lost the presidency in 2012. If they keep their anti-immigration hysteria up, they can expect more shellackings.

Or they can wake up and realize that a leviathan on the border and a police state in the homeland to prevent willing employers from willing workers is consistent neither with limited government, nor free market competition, nor winning elections.