February 14, 2015

When in the Majority: Express Disapproval

Congress has left town for their President's Day recess, without solving the problem of how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be funded.

You'll recall that the budget deal that was worked out last year funded the rest of the government through September but left out DHS, because the Republicans wanted to make a statement about their dissatisfaction with President Obama's executive action on immigration.

Orange John Boehner and Grumpy Old Mitch McConnell, or their minions, came up with this great plan to push the Dems against the wall and force them to vote separately on DHS, which the Rs would castrate with anti-immigration language.  Because castration, as we know, is something revered in Congress now.

So the budget passes and we go into January, with an end of February deadline looming on DHS funding, and what does the Republican controlled Congress do?

  • Vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which they did some 50 times while in the minority, with exactly equally dismal chances of happening. 
  • Vote to pass the Keystone XL Pipeline, which "will help secure our energy independence" by taking crappy dirty Canadian tar sands, run them in pipes through the center of the country down to the Gulf of Mexico, where they will be refined and sent to Europe and China. The bill will almost certainly be vetoed by President Obama, the Boehner signing ceremony notwithstanding. 

With that auspicious start to basking in the overwhelming majority given by the 37% of people who weren't too fed up with the process and actually voted in the mid-terms, the Rs are off to the races. Except on the DHS funding.

Senator Kelly Ayotte, the New Hampshire Republican, noted that
We need to resolve it. We need to fund DHS and also find a legislative mechanism to express our disapproval with the President's executive order. 
Here's a thought: do exactly what you say you need to do. Both houses need to work together  to pass a clean DHS funding bill; don't pull a Cruz and shut any part of the government down.

And  then, draft an immigration bill. Get your party together and come up with an immigration plan that the majority of you in both houses can support, and that will entice some Dems to participate with you. Allow reasonable debate and related amendments in both houses, and pass an immigration bill.

If you want to express legislative disapproval on the President's executive order, try and pass a bill that limits executive actions.

Or, if that's not 'disapproval' enough, or too risky, since it would limit your own guy should you ever find one who's electable, start every session (in both houses) with a vote on a statement of your disapproval.  Here's some draft language for you:
We, the minority-elected Republican majority in the [House] [Senate], hereby express our strongest disapproval of Executive Actions taken by President Obama and all of his predecessors on immigration, believing as we so strongly do that only we have the right and the duty to make laws on this issue.  So say we all. 
Read the darn thing into the Congressional Record, and then get to work.