We have heard this story before: A funding deadline is approaching and Congress must act quickly to pass a bill to address the issue. In a twist, the chamber continuously labeled by the left as filled with “obstructionists,” passes a bill that simply funds the program in question.
All should be in agreement that this works, right? After all, the program in question is now funded.
But what if the complainers decided this was not good enough?
That is the situation facing the Senate over H.R. 240, the House-passed fiscal year 2015 Homeland Security Appropriations bill. Everyone preaches the necessity of funding the Department of Homeland Security.
But last week as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried for a third time to open debate and allow for amendments on the bill, Democrats in the Senate continued to vehemently oppose the bill’s consideration. Before the Senate can move to consideration of the bill, 60 senators are needed.
“I don’t understand why they’d want to block the Senate from even debating a bill to fund homeland security,” McConnell said on the Senate floor last week. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
“You’d think Democrats would at least want to give the Senate an opportunity to make improvements to the bill, if it needs them,” he continued. “Why would Democrats want to stand tall for the ability of politicians to do things President Obama himself has described as ‘unwise and unfair’?”
It’s true that if the bill funding the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t pass, it won’t be the end of the world: 86 percent of the Department will continue to operate without the bill.
But with funding set to expire on Feb. 27, why are so many Democrats unwilling to consider a bill that would fund the Department—and keep all operations going?
After all, the only item the current bill doesn’t fund is President Obama’s unilateral move to grant amnesty to over 5 million individuals through executive actions. And individuals on both sides of the political spectrum are questioning the legality and constitutionality of the president’s executive actions.
As Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., has said, “It’s not a little matter, colleagues, it really is an affront to constitutional order and we have a duty no matter what we feel about this amnesty, that goes well beyond ‘DREAM Act’ amnesty, we have a constitutional duty to defend the integrity of the Congress against an encroachment of monumental proportions by the president.”
But it’s not just Republicans who questioned the legality of Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Specifically, several Democrats have expressed serious concerns executive overreach, including Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.V.), Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D.), Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) , and Joe Donnelly (D., Ind.), just to name a few.
Sadly, instead of standing up against Obama’s actions, they all continue to keep the Senate from voting on the House Department of Homeland Security funding bill.
Speaker of the House John Boehner has made it clear that the House has done its work on funding the department and now it’s the Senate’s turn.
With the House of Representatives voting 236-191 to pass a clean DHS funding bill and excluding funds towards the issue at hand, the choice is clear.
Are supporters of Obama’s actions willing to delay the House bill for consideration, forfeiting their rights to an amendment process, and allow for the February deadline to breath down Congress’ neck and possibly expire? Or are they willing to accept a clean passage that funds the department in charge of the security of our country?
The Senate is set to try a fourth time to move to the legislation. We will see if opponents continue to object.