The Republicans have the largest majority in generations, and they are fighting amongst themselves like cats and dogs. The Tea Party contingent wants to shut down the government, shut down the IRS, and repeal every initiative that was implemented by the Democrats for the last six years. This makes no sense because Republicans now have the power in both houses, and they want to teach President Obama a lesson.
All around the globe there is war and terrorists, and the Republicans have backed themselves into a corner by threatening to shutdown the Department of Homeland Security by withholding funding. Many Republicans thought by taking an extreme position, they would have leverage to stop the president’s executive orders on immigration.
But President Obama and the Democrats knew that all they had to do is wait because there are only 54 Republicans in the Senate, and they need 60 votes to put House bills on the Senate floor. Therefore, the House can vote on any crazy measure they can think of, but the Senate Democrats can filibuster the bill, and the bill will go nowhere. If Congress does not pass a DHS spending bill, the agency will partially shut down, and potentially furlough 30,000 employees.
The Democrats and the president want a clean bill with no riders stripping away the president’s immigration actions. Even though the Republicans have all this new numbers power, they have no agreed-upon strategy or comprehensive agenda. They are still trying to figure out what they are going to do next, and at this point, they are not getting much done.
The Republicans have only gotten two bills to become law since they swept into office with the 2014 election. One bill was a leftover from last year that funds a terrorist insurance program, and the other a non-controversial bill to address mental health problems among veterans. In 2007, when the Democrats had control of both houses, in two months they had seven bills signed by the president and made into laws.
At this point, there is too much infighting with the Republicans, and President Obama is waiting to veto any bill that does not make sense from his point of view. President of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has worked out a bill that would allow funding until the end of the fiscal year for DHS. This is the beginning of compromise in the Senate, and this is good for the country.
The bill has passed the Senate, and now everyone is waiting for the House to make a decision on a bill to keep DHS open. On Friday, February 27th, Speaker of the House, John Boehner was not able to get a bill passed by the House because there is too much fighting in his party. The Senate passes a different bill to keep the DHS open for one week, and three hours before the Department is getting ready to shut down, a bipartisan bill is passed by the House.
Fighting and pointing fingers gets nothing accomplished in the House, and collaboration and compromise is essential to the democratic process. Both parties must respect each other’s point of view because they need each other to get bills passed in the House. In the final analysis, each party must give up something to get some of what they want.
“There’re terrorist attacks all over the world, and we’re talking about closing down Homeland Security. This is like living in the world of the crazy people,” tweeted Rep. Peter King of New York, a former chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.
Roger Caldwell, a community activist, author, journalist, radio host and CEO of On Point Media Group, lives in Orlando. His book, The Inspiring Journey of a Stroke Survivor, details the story of his recovery from a massive stroke. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.