Homeland Security shutdown looms as McConnell's leadership fails

Senate Republicans Speak To Media After Their Weekly Policy Luncheon

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell showed us he is not the man to lead any Senate majority that is opposed by obstructionist Democrats. In short, [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ] is a great majority leader if you are on a level, paved road on a pleasant June day. For anything more challenging you need someone with a pair.

The U.S. Senate Majority leader, Republican Mitch McConnell, said on Tuesday that the Senate is “stuck” and unable to advance legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security, so the next move is up to the House of Representatives.

McConnell blamed Democrats for stopping the Senate from taking up the House version of the legislation, which also seeks to block President Barack Obama’s immigration actions. “I think it’s clear we can’t go forward in the Senate … and so the next move obviously is up to the House.”

This is pathetic. Because the House passed a bill that stripped Obama’s authority to carry out his lawless mangling of our immigration laws and McConnell is unable to pass that bill, somehow it is now up to the House to pass a bill the Senate Democrats like. To House Speaker John Boehner’s credit, he’s having none of it:

In a funding spat that could effectively shut down the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), House Republicans don’t appear to be backing down from a fight.

House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday he’s even readying himself for it.

“The House has acted,” the speaker said on Fox News on Sunday. “We’ve done our job. Senate Democrats are the ones putting us in this precarious position. It’s up to Senate Democrats to get their act together.”

When asked if the Speaker was “prepared” for the DHS to run out of financing, Boehner responded: “Certainly. The House has acted. We’ve done our job.”

Boehner is correct. Now, how much of this is his decision and how much of it is driven by an incipient revolt if he folds is a different question:

Hours later, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) wandered over to a closed-door Senate GOP lunch and told lawmakers there is neither the appetite nor the votes in his conservative House conference to send over a “clean” DHS bill, free of GOP riders targeting Obama’s immigration moves.

It remains a mystery to me why the GOP remains afraid to shut down sections of the government. From that bastion of wild-eyed conservatism, the National Review:

But they can take comfort in the fact that this is not a suicide mission. The conventional wisdom about what happened in November of 1995 is very misleading.

Republicans certainly did not suffer at the polls. They lost only nine House seats, a relatively trivial number after a net gain of 54 in 1994. They actually added to their majority in the Senate, picking up two seats in the 1996 cycle.

More important, they succeeded in dramatically reducing the growth of federal spending. They did not get everything they wanted, to be sure, but government spending grew by just 2.9 percent during the first four years of GOP control, helping to turn a $164 billion deficit in 1995 into a $126 billion surplus in 1999. And they enacted a big tax cut in 1997.

We shut it down again for a short while in 2013 and we won a sequester and kicked ass in 2014. The only people who are arguing against this are people who just don’t know how to win or who don’t want to win.

Shutting down Homeland Security, in particular, should be a no-brainer. It is a large, bullying organization that adds very little to our national security. When one of our alleged Republicans says something like this:

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said a DHS shutdown would be extremely dangerous at a time of growing threats from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other terrorist networks.

“I certainly do not think that’s a good idea at this time, when we have lots of national security interests,” Corker said.

He reveals himself to be either a knave or a poltroon. Either he believes this and should be institutionalized or he’s lying. ISIS is not our threat and our first line of defense remains the FBI. Key personnel, like Border Patrol, will remain on duty even with a shutdown… to the extent they are actually doing anything today. Even the gropers and sexual deviants at TSA will remain on the job.

What the Senate Democrats are doing is trying to save Obama from caving. If a bill goes to his desk and he refuses to sign it, he simply does not have the political strength to sustain the veto and he probably doesn’t have the guts to veto the bill.

The real lesson to be drawn from this is that McConnell is not the man for the job. He is more interested in getting press plaudits and currying favor, Stockholm Syndrome style, with his former masters. If he doesn’t have the guts to push this bill through, the way [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ] did, then he needs to get out of the way.