At the beginning of the current House session, Republicans had a mission to show that they were capable of leading. But the saga to confirm the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget is showing quite the opposite. The divisions among Republicans which have stalled the House’s operations in the past still exist, even as the party is in control of the Legislature.
Had the Democratic minority failed to come to the rescue at the eleventh hour on Friday, the federal agency would be closed today.
Last Friday, a plan proposed by House Speaker John Boehner to extend the budget for the DHS for three more weeks did not pass for lack of Republican votes. Boehner wanted to use that time to press the Senate and move forward to a bicameral conference where he could impose clauses regarding immigration. His proposed measures would open the door to the deportation of millions of people.
Boehner’s strategy would not have worked either because Democratic senators can block the conference. Thus, the Senate minority is acting the same way the Republicans did when they were in the same position, blocking the White House agenda.
What seems astonishing is that their frustration has led Republicans such as California congressman Kevin McCarthy to suggest that the rules of the game need to be changed to prevent Democratic obstruction. That is, that the problem is not the chaos caused by Republicans but the norms that stop intolerant extremists from getting their way in Congress as they do inside their party.
Because the current rules do not allow the Republican leadership to open the gates of deportation to parents of U.S. citizens and Dreamers, they say they must be changed.
Many Republicans are not happy that theirs is seen as the party of deportation. They give this topic so much importance that it prevents them from governing the country coherently and without creating a crisis. The mere thought of changing the rules in order to reach their goals confirms their obsession with breaking up immigrant families who have been in the country for years