Friday, February 27, 2015
For almost two months, the United States has now had the ability to watch the new 114th U.S. Congress, with the majority by Republicans in both the Senate and the House operate in what anyone would call a complete state of disarray. With their majorities now in both Houses, they cannot pass bills.
It has been a year and a half while the U.S. Senate that was Democratically controlled at the time, passed an immigration bill with bi-partisan support. Since then, the Speaker of the House John Boehner, that kept his seat in the new Congress, would never bring that overwhelmingly bi-partisan vote by the Senate on Immigration to the floor of the House. Why, because he knew that the bill would pass, and he would not let the House vote to allow the bill to pass. The only thing that mattered was that a bill supported by President Obama would not be given a chance to pass in the House if he had anything to say about it, so he took it upon himself to shelf the bill. He was not concerned about the millions of immigrants living outside the law that have been living in the United States for years that would become legal if the bill passed, or the hundreds of thousands of people that were deported because the bill was not signed. Immigrants just do not count in John Boehner's eyes.
In keeping up with the ways of the very right wing tea-party Republican control, the House then decides to try and throw President Obama's Executive Action about Immigration under the bus in a combined bill with Homeland Security. The bill that expires at midnight tonight that was sent to the Senate would all but totally revamp President Obama's immigration declaration which was designed to help about 5 million illegal immigrants in a way to help earn a permanent stay in the United States or at least stop deportation. Democrats in the Senate would not accept the modifications proposed in the combined bill with Homeland Security, including a group of Republicans in the U.S. Senate that also disagreed with Boehner's bill, so it was then rejected in the Senate. Let it be known that the bill would have been vetoed if sent to President Obama if it reached his desk with modified provisions about immigration, so all the time and effort to create such a combined bill was a total waste of time.
The Senate then agreed to a 3-week extension, without any attached bill about immigration, to keep Homeland Security funded. The bill was sent to the House, and the House majority leader John Boehner could not get the needed votes by Republicans to get the 3-week bill passed. This defeat clearly showed that John Boehner did not have control of his own caucus in the House of Representatives.
Mitch McConnell and the Senate gave it a last ditch effort to send another bill to the House. This time, the bill was just for a single week extension. After the bill was passed in the Senate, the Senators immediately adjourned for the weekend before the House vote, indicating that this was all that they were going to do this week on Homeland Security, regardless if the House passed it or not. The immediate fate of Homeland Security was now in John Boehner's lap.
Where is the communication between the Senate and the House? Furthermore, where is the communication between Speaker Boehner and the White House, as it was also learned that the Speaker never had a single conversation to the President during this time of inaction.
What was at stake now, just hours before the deadline, and what would happen to Homeland Security and the 240,000+ employees if this 1-week extension did not pass?
Pamela Brown from CNN highlighted what would happen after midnight tonight if a Homeland Security bill did not pass.
She claimed that "it will be significant what happens" and that the employees of DHS would feel it the most. Here was her claim.
1) 30,000 employee's would be furlowed including 5,500 TSA agents at airports across the country.
2) The DHS run Federal Law Enforcement Academy would send home trainees, from ICE to custom border patrols and ATF.
3) 200,000+ employee's would work without pay. The TSA and Coastguard would loose their bi-weekly paycheck, with no guarantee they can re-coupe the money after Homeland Security is funded again. They would be fired if they did not report to work.
Vital functions would still be performed, but non-essential employee's would be furlowed, according to CNN's Pamela Brown.
So what did actually happen before midnight?
With the advise of minority leader Nancy Pelosi, Democrats did muster up enough for a two thirds majority along with House Senators that passed the 1-week extension with less than a few hours before midnight, and now Homeland Security is now funded. The 1-week extension bill was sent to President Obama and he is expected sign the bill.
So now what? This fight in Congress is still not over. What just happened means that this will again play out in Congress next week. The Democrats are not expected to cave in, so what will John Boehner do now? What he must do is send a fully-funded Homeland Security bill to the Senate with no-strings attached , especially with no strings attached to President Obama's immigration bill.
Anyone with any common sense can tell you that if the House and Senate did agree on a bill that would be attached to immigration, President Obama would just get out his veto pen again. As just recently witnessed, the President is not afraid to use it, as he just vetoed the Canadian oil pipeline bill that was sent to him, as he openly said that he would if he received such a bill.
All of the actions of this newly elected Congress are just a complete waste of time. The Republicans may have a majority in Congress, but they cannot even pass bill among themselves without drama and self-destruction, let alone send a Senate/House approved bill to the Presidents desk that he will sign. Without 2/3rds of Democrats in the House and Senate, they cannot over-ride President Obama's vetos.
Tune in next week, as the drama will continue, and Homeland Security will be front and center with the news media, and let's just see how John Boehner expects to fix the mess that he and his cohorts in Congress have created.
Will there ever be a time that the Republican controlled Congress can get their ideas together and pass a single bill worth while? They continue to be the one and only 'certified' do-nothing Congress, only capable of doing things to pacify their greed for what they want and to vote against everything that President Obama and U.S. citizens favor.
Homeland Security will survive, but the question is whether John Boehner will survive as Speaker of the House. Many fellow Senators may now call for his resignation.
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