We've been careening toward a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security for a number of months but House Republicans will take action today by passing a clean bill to fund the department without anti-immigrant riders.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced the new strategy to his rank-and-file members during a closed-door caucus meeting Thursday night. Senior Republicans predicted it would win enough support to clear the lower chamber.
“I think we’ve got plentiful support. I was very pleased with the response. I think it’ll be a very strong vote,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) told reporters after the meeting.
But there's a catch.
The bill House leadership intends to pass will only fund the Department of Homeland Security for the next three weeks.
For reasons that are beyond my understanding, House leadership relishes the opportunity to cave again in three weeks at which time they will have no choice but to fund the department, again.
It's certainly a good thing that the department will not shut down and that over 100,000 agents and employees will not be forced to work without a paycheck, but from a political perspective it makes no sense to fund the department for just three weeks rather than through the rest of the fiscal year. What looks bad today will look just as bad, if not worse, three weeks from now.
Will all of that said, there's still a possibility that a shutdown could occur tonight as House Democrats are reportedly whipping against the three-week measure and the House Republican Freedom Caucus (yes that is a real thing) may or may not support the bill.
House Democrats believe the department should be funded through the rest of the fiscal year, as I do, while the Flying Monkey Caucus would prefer a shutdown.
UPDATE... John Boehner's three-week funding measure failed today shortly after 5 p.m.