Department Of Homeland Security Funding Battles And Entitlement Reform

We may be headed for another shutdown. This time it’ll be the Department of Homeland Security, caught in the partisan crosshairs over the spending bill which Democrats insist should not have any immigration related amendments.

Most Republicans and Democrats want to avoid a shutdown, but there are some House Republicans who seem willing to let the agency run out of money, putting the nation’s security squarely at risk.

Last night, Senate Democrats blocked legislation that would’ve rolled back President Obama’s executive actions on immigration for the fourth time. As promised, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is doing his best to avoid a shutdown. He is proposing separate fast track legislation to deal with the President’s executive actions so that the Department of Homeland Security can stay open and funded.

McConnell said, “The new bill I described offers another option we can turn to. It’s another way to get the Senate unstuck from a Democrat filibuster and move the debate forward.”

(Credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

At this point, it’s unclear whether McConnell will be successful by Friday’s deadline. This is the latest in a stream of battles that threaten the functioning of our government. And it raises the larger issue of how we are ever going to be able to ensure our long-term fiscal health when Congress doesn’t make it a top priority.

Indeed, since President Obama announced his budget a few weeks ago there has been little to no conversation about what we can do to create a plan that will satisfy both liberal and conservative priorities.

To be sure, the increasingly violent conflict with ISIS across the Middle East as well as the worsening situation in Ukraine, where a ceasefire fell apart in a matter of hours, has been sapping our attention – and with good reason. President Obama’s response to both issues has fallen far short of what’s needed.