Speaker Boehner Finally Acknowledges Reality On DHS Budget
Well, it seems like this could all be coming to an end. Just over a month after House Republicans attempted to hold DHS funding hostage to a political squabble over the president’s announcement of the DHS directives on immigration in the fall, Republican Speaker John Boehner has finally realized that national security is too important to become a political football. Boehner just announced that he would attempt to end the Republican-led brinkmanship over the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget and bring a “clean” bill funding the DHS for a full year to the House floor. Boehner has been unable to control his own caucus, so now he is leaning on House Democrats to pass this bill, who had been pushing for the Speaker to bring a clean bill to the floor all along.
This is a break from the previous two months, when Boehner included a repeal of the President’s immigration executive actions to the DHS budget bill that Republicans passed in the House. At the end of last week, after Senate Democrats and the President refused to accept Boehner’s mass deportation scheme, Boehner tried to pass a three-week extension of the DHS budget, only for it to crash and burn after more than 50 far-right Republicans bailed on his plans. Speaker Boehner alluded to the far-right in today’s decision, saying that “the three-week CR we offered would have kept this fight going… Unfortunately, that plan was rejected.” Now, Speaker Boehner will have to rely on House Democrats to come to the rescue again, a replay on a quite–common occurrence these days.
A clean DHS budget that leaves the President’s immigration directives intact is good for the country: those directives raise $22.6 billion in new payroll tax revenues in the first 5 years alone, add $41 billion to the Social Security system over a decade, and add between $90 and $210 billion to GDP. The directives also make our country more secure, by focusing enforcement on felons not families, and bringing millions of people out of the shadows and making them undergo background checks.
BOTTOM LINE: For weeks, Boehner and the far right wing of his party have been united in their plan hold national security funding hostage unless they could deport 11 million people, including parents and children. Now that it is clear Boehner has little control over the far right, he finally appear ready to do the right thing for our national security and our economy by bringing a clean DHS bill to the floor. This chapter of Republican infighting may finally be over – as one House Republican critical of his party, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said, “Sanity is prevailing.”