Source: National Journal | Fawn Johnson
February 22, 2015 In these final days before the Homeland Security Department is due to shut down, two things are certain: One, the Senate will hold its fourth vote Monday to start debate on a DHS funding bill that also would scrap President Obama’s executive action to defer deportations for some 4 million undocumented immigrants. Two, the outcome will be the same as it has been the last three times: Democrats will vote “no,” and the impasse will remain.
Monday’s roll call will reiterate what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been saying for two weeks—the legislation is stuck in the Senate, and the chamber needs another bill from the House in order to move forward. House Republicans, for their part, seem perfectly willing to let the Senate’s stalemate continue, saying that Democrats will be blamed for the shutdown that would begin at 12:01 am Saturday.
What has changed during the lawmakers’ week-long recess is a potentially disruptive ruling by a Texas judge putting an injunction on the president’s latest executive actions on immigration. The White House has said it will appeal, but in the meantime, all activities preparing for the broad deferral programs have been halted. (A 2012 program for unauthorized immigrants who arrived as children is still functioning.)
In Congress, the court’s injunction has had the dual impact of adding fuel to Republicans’ argument that Obama overstepped his bounds while also giving them a chance to back off their efforts to stop the immigration actions themselves. If the courts can stop it, the argument goes, then maybe the Hill doesn’t have to.
A few cracks in the GOP façade have appeared: Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio visited Las Vegas on a book tour and said DHS should be funded regardless of what happens on Obama’s immigration orders, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Florida Republican pointed out that the country can’t afford to let DHS shut down, and Obama will not sign any bill that eradicates his deferred deportation programs.