Later this morning, House Republicans will meet behind closed doors to decide whether to continue hurtling towards a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security. They will discuss Mitch McConnell’s plan to hold two votes — one on funding DHS cleanly, and the other on rolling back President Obama’s executive deportation relief — and House conservatives will insist that GOP leaders must not decouple the two, because that would surrender DHS funding leverage as a tool to block Obama’s lawlessness.
We will then be told that John Boehner just can’t get clean DHS funding through the House. He just can’t do it! It would get conservatives very, very angry! Boehner doesn’t dare pass clean funding with the help of a lot of Democrats, because it would put his Speakership at risk! He can’t do anything. He’s helpless!
But we’ve seen this particular thriller a number of times already. Here’s how it always goes: We are told there’s no way Boehner would ever dare move must-pass legislation with a lot of Democrats. He’s stuck! Then pressure builds and builds, and Boehner does end up passing something with a lot of Democrats. Last I checked, he’s still Speaker.
We’re hearing that again today. Roll Call quotes several House conservatives hinting that Boehner had best refrain from passing any clean DHS funding, or his gavel is in doubt. Okay. But back in early 2013, the fiscal cliff deal, which allowed some high end Bush tax cuts to expire, passed the House with only 85 Republicans and 172 Democrats, and we were told Boehner’s Speakership was at risk. Similarly, in early 2014, Boehner allowed a clean debt ceiling increase to pass the House with only 28 Republicans voting for it, and we were again told his Speakership was at risk. Does anyone else notice a pattern here?
Now, perhaps this time will really be different. Perhaps Obama’s “amnesty” is so flagrantly lawless in the eyes of Republicans that maybe Boehner would pay a steeper price if he allowed clean DHS funding to pass with Democrats. Either way, we will soon find out. Politico reports:
Several top House Republicans believe the only way a clean funding bill can pass their chamber is if the DHS shuts down and pressure builds for a resolution.