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Published On: Wed, Feb 11th, 2015

Senate Democrats may force government shutdown over DHS, amnesty battle

For the second consecutive day, Senate Democrats blocked their Republican colleagues from bringing a bill to the floor to fund the Department of Homeland Security, which has become the epicenter of disagreement over President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

DHS will run out of money on Feb. 27, but Democrats object to amendments in the funding bill, sent from the House, that would undo the president’s actions that provide legal protections (called “amnesty” by critics) to as many as five million immigrants, including children, who are in the country illegally.

Photo By Bill Koplitz/FEMA

Photo By Bill Koplitz/FEMA

Even after Senate Democrats successfully blocked the bill again on Wednesday, in a 53 to 47 procedural vote, an aide to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, signaled that he planned to bring it up again as early as Thursday.

Republicans need 60 votes to bring the bill to the floor, which would probably require six Democratic votes.

photo donkeyhotey  donkeyhotey.wordpress.com

photo donkeyhotey donkeyhotey.wordpress.com

“Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Voting for the same bill over and over again,” asked Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who also warned that Congress could not allow the department to shut down. “I don’t know how you can say that you defund a branch of government and expect it to function.”

Republicans blamed Democrats for blocking funding for the Department of Homeland Security, saying that they were being extreme and obstructionist by refusing even to open debate on the bill.

Democrats blamed Republicans, saying that by attaching amendments aimed at fighting the president’s immigration executive actions to a spending bill, they were playing politics with the agency’s funding.

“It would be irresponsible for the Democrats to block funding for the Department of Homeland Security,” said Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas. “They are attempting to hold our national security hostage in order to protect the president’s illegal and unconstitutional executive amnesty.”

Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, using the example of the Islamic State militant group, had an equally harsh and decidedly opposite analysis.

“In a time when the world is united in trying to send a strong signal about confronting ISIS and defeating ISIS, I think putting veto bait in the funding for homeland security is a very bad idea,” she said. “It is an awkward time for them to try to mire this down in presidential immigration politics.”

“It’s our view that the president acted in an unconstitutional fashion, and we understand what the House did, but we hope they understand our constraints as well,” McCain said. “But we cannot shut down the Department of Homeland Security with the threats that we have from ISIS and overseas.”

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, spent the day working behind the scenes to gather support for an amendment that would fund the agency and still repeal Obama’s 2014 executive order, but not the protections for the young immigrants brought here as children and known as Dreamers.

“I’m certainly trying to put an alternative out there so that the choice isn’t just the House bill or nothing,” Collins said. “Nobody else seems to be presenting a way out of the impasse, so I thought I’d try.”

photo Fibonacci Blue via Flickr

photo Fibonacci Blue via Flickr

About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professional in 2008 on sites like Examiner and blogs: Desk of Brian, Crazed Fanboy. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) will be a licensed Assembly of God Pastor by the Spring of 2017. "Why do we do this?" I was asked and the answer is simple. "I just want the truth. I want a source of information that tells me what's going and clearly attempts to separate opinion from fact. Set aside left and right, old and young, just point to the world and say, 'Look!'" To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

Displaying 3 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Dave Francis says:

    DO NOT CAVE IN TO THE DEMOCRATIC-LIBERAL ZEALOTS ON AMNESTY?

    It is time for GOP hierarchy—not the Tea Party Republicans who fight against their own, to put an end to the destruction on American families that Obama’s cheap labor policy national impact or Obama’s call for voters, legal and unlawful.

    We urge you to call your Representative and Senators (the Capitol Switchboard is 1-866-220-0044) and demand that they vote to defund Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty and protect American jobs for American workers. Are you ready to help us stop him and end amnesty for illegal aliens once and for all—before the true and final destruction begins? You the American people, have ALL the power of your vote. If the Southern border stays open, with this President directives to overrun this country with foreign nationals the citizens will suffer dearly, including massive tax increases to financially support the 5 million already here and those waiting to escape poverty from the other side of the world.

  2. J Russell says:

    The 2 Republican Congressional leaders of the least productive, most obstructive, and most do nothing Congress possibly in U S history whining about Congressional lack of progress? It puts a tear as big as a horse tard in my eye. Gentleman, this President has engineered an almost total recovery from the worst Republican economic collapse since their Great Depression with the Republicans only contribution, “just say no”. Mitch and John, you have clearly proven the nation and its progress doesn’t need you..

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