House Speaker John Boehner is again taking enormous heat from the most conservative members of his own Republican caucus and from the usual gang of far-right ideologues, pundits and talk show hosts for bringing a clean funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security to the floor on Tuesday, where it passed easily.
The House voted Tuesday to fund the Department of Homeland Security, ending a months-long impasse over President Obama’s immigration policies and averting a weekend shutdown at the agency.
Tuesday’s roll call allows Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to finally turn the page on an ugly chapter in his leadership that consumed the opening months of the new Republican-controlled Congress.
But it also highlighted once again the tenuous power Boehner enjoys over his conference.
The spending bill cleared the House on a 257-167 vote only because of the unanimous support of House Democrats.
All 167 “no” votes came from Republicans — more than twice as many as the 75 who supported the bill. Out of 21 House GOP committee chairmen, 12 broke with leadership and voted against the clean funding bill. Nine voted “yes.”
The $40 billion bill keeps the DHS funded through the fiscal year, ending Sept. 30, but is stripped of GOP-favored provisions aimed at halting Obama’s controversial executive actions on immigration. The so-called clean funding bill had passed the Senate earlier; it now goes to Obama, who has already vowed to sign it.
There wasn’t any choice here. The Senate Republicans simply did not have the votes to pass a bill with the provisions in it to attempt to defund the president’s immigration orders, which is why they had already passed a clean bill and sent it to the House. But the Tea Party types in the House are absolutely allergic to reality and they view any and all compromise as treason and betrayal.
This is the problem with hardcore ideologues, they have no sense at all of the practical requirements of governing. If they don’t get absolutely everything they want, they throw a temper tantrum. In this case, that tantrum would have shut down the agency tasked with protecting the country against terrorism. Boehner knew that they would take the blame for that from voters and that it would be political suicide to do, but the hard right simply does not acknowledge that reality ever matters.
This really goes back to the psychology that makes someone a conservative. Studies show that they value “toughness” and strict adherence to ideology far more than they do compromise or thoughtfulness.