Opinion

After this tantrum, House Republicans need a timeout

Did you hear a noise? @smartelle asks. It was House Republicans stamping their feet

I’m trying to understand the logic here.

Conservative congressional Republicans who have refused to work on comprehensive immigration reform are upset because President Obama invoked prosecutorial discretion and prioritized which immigrants here illegally should be targeted for removal. Obama also set up a system under which parents of American citizens or legal permanent residents, and an expanded pool of people brought here as children, would be able to live without immediate fear of deportation, and in some cases get permission to work (now on hold pending a legal challenge).

Immigration and border security are overseen by divisions of the Department of Homeland Security, notably Customs and Border Protection and Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Instead of addressing the root problem -- inadequate immigration laws -- the House conservatives decided that they would not fund Homeland Security unless they were also allowed to gut Obama’s ability to grant deferred action.

That bill passed the House but couldn’t get through the Senate. And even if it had, Obama pledged to veto it. So the Senate did the smart thing: It split the two measures and passed a continuing funding bill for Homeland Security so that senators could tackle separately the more contentious rollback of deferred actions.

The House Republicans, behaving like toddlers throwing a tantrum, refused to break the two measures apart, and are poised to force Homeland Security to furlough tens of thousands of workers, while requiring essential personnel to work without pay (though they probably will get paid later).

So because they don’t like how Obama is trying to deal with the 11 million immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally, let alone how border security is conducted, the House Republicans are hamstringing the very department responsible for doing the work they think is so crucial to the nation.

Someone needs a timeout.

Follow Scott Martelle on Twitter @smartelle.

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