The Most Secure Shutdown

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated the blog, but it’s also been awhile since Congress was on the brink of a shutdown of necessary government services, so I guess we both just had other things on our plates. Now, after over a year since the last government shutdown, Congress is once again flirting with the possibility of ending funding to a government agency. This time, it’s the Department of Homeland Security, and the Republicans are in charge. What a difference a year makes!

The Department of Homeland Security was created in the aftermath in the 9/11 attacks, and oversees border patrol, emergency responses, cybersecurity, and other industries that protect our nation from foreign threats. Their funding is running out, though Congress did pass a one week extension last Friday to fund the department for another week. But once this funding expires on March 6th, another bill will have to be passed to continue to keep our country safe.

Why has this become such a contentious issue? On the surface, it seems like an issue that would not be subject to partisan politics. In this case, the debate comes down to immigration. Likely because the Department of Homeland Security oversees border patrol, Republicans are trying to attach a clause to a funding bill eliminating some of the executive orders that President Obama has signed to protect undocumented immigrants. The Democrats will only vote on a “clean” funding bill, or a bill without extra political amendments.

Last Friday, the House rejected a funding measure that would keep the Department funded for three weeks, in a move that signaled to many people that Speaker Boehner (R-OH) does not have control over his party. Today, the Senate Democrats blocked a request by the Republicans to go to conference, or convene a meeting between the House and the Senate to reconcile the differences between the bills.

The Senate has passed a bill that would keep the DHS funded through September, and some say that it would pass in the House with bipartisan support.The chances of this being brought into the House are minimal, as Speaker Boehner failed to even pass a three-week funding bill.

This next week will be full of Congressional scrambling, archaic procedural rules, and who knows, maybe even a coup against Speaker Boehner. Whatever happens, you know I’ll be here, likely with some microwave popcorn, watching it all unfold.

irst Published: March 2, 2015