A federal judge last week blocked Obama’s immigration actions, saying the plans shouldn’t move forward while a lawsuit challenging them is unresolved.
The Justice Department plans to appeal the decision, but the White House has said it will abide by the judge’s order. That means Obama’s immigration plans are on hold until the legal process plays out, which could take more than a year — especially if the case moves to the Supreme Court.
Some Republicans have suggested that Congress should go ahead and fund Homeland Security in light of last week’s ruling. “Now we have the perfect reason to not shut it down because the courts have decided, at least initially, in our favor,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said last week on CNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Despite McCain’s enthusiasm for avoiding a shutdown at this point, it remains unclear whether the far-right will agree. On Monday, the Senate plans to vote for a fourth time on a House-passed bill to fund the department and block Obama’s immigration plans.
Republicans have failed with their past three attempts to overcome a Democratic filibuster of the measure, which the White House has promised to veto anyway. As such, Monday’s vote will be an exercise in futility.
GOP lawmakers could force a Homeland Security shutdown by refusing to pass a “clean” funding bill this week, but the move would prove fiscally irresponsible and potentially damaging to public perception of the party.
Many Homeland Security employees, such as those who guard the nation’s borders and staff airport-security checkpoints, would remain on the job in the event of a shutdown. Congress would likely grant retroactive pay to them, along with the employees who stayed home and do no work — that’s what it has always done in the past.
That’s hardly cost-effective, and it could breed resentment among employees who actually worked for their money during a potential closure. Additionally, stopping and starting operations is not an efficient way to run an organization.
As for public perception, a CNN/Opinion Research poll this month showed that more than half of Americans would blame the GOP for a lapse in Homeland Security funding, while only 30 percent would blame Obama.
Republicans fared poorly in polling after the last shutdown as well, but they still took over the Senate during the recent midterms. As such, it’s hard to tell whether they’ll feel emboldened this time or back down while the federal court case plays out.
The GOP essentially has what it wants for the time being, with Obama’s actions on hold for awhile. We’ll find out this week whether that’s enough.