Congress

Here Comes the Shutdown

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

A shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security seems almost certain at this point.

Speaker of the House John Boehner reiterated over the weekend that the House has no plans whatsoever to bass a bill that would fund the department without anti-immigrant riders.

“The House has done its job; we’ve spoken,” Mr. Boehner said on “Fox News Sunday.” “If the Senate doesn’t like it, they’ll have to produce something that fits their institution.”

Pressed on whether he would, in effect, allow the department to shut down if the Senate does not come up with a funding bill of its own, the speaker said: “Certainly. The House has acted.”

Congressional Republicans have said for months that, ultimately, they must fund the department, but they don't appear to be any closer to actually doing so.

The question at this point is not whether a shutdown is possible, but how long a shutdown could last.

Pressure to fund the department may increase significantly after a shutdown occurs, but we could see a period of weeks or maybe even months where employees of the department are forced to work without pay.

A months-long shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security may seem inconceivable, but I wouldn't put anything past the Republican-controlled Congress.

A nakedly partisan judge in Texas has granted an injunction against the president's recent executive orders, a decision which the Department of Justice is appealing, but as of this writing Speaker Boehner has not indicated that this changes the calculus on funding the Department of Homeland Security.

The House bill would go further than repealing the president's recent executive orders and repeal the deferred action program for DREAMers implemented in 2012. The injunction granted by Judge Andrew Hanen does not apply to the latter.

This manufactured crisis has been months in the making. Congressional Republicans insisted that the Department of Homeland Security be funded temporarily while the rest of the federal government was funded through the remainder of the fiscal year. This was done for the explicit purpose of holding department funding hostage when the time came.