House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has made sure that every single Democrat has co-sponsored legislation to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security, hoping to eliminate any confusion over whom to blame if the agency partially shuts down at the end of this week over an immigration brawl between congressional Republicans and President Obama.
Every Senate Democrat, including California’s Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, has signed a similar letter expressing the same position. They backed it up with their fourth vote Monday night blocking House legislation that would defund Obama’s executive action last fall that lifted the threat of deportation and authorized work permits for 4 million immigrants who are in the U.S. without legal documentation.
Democrats see themselves in a win-win position, said Republican political analyst Ford O’Connell.
“They feel that if we have this partial shutdown, voters are going to blame Republicans and therefore undergird the argument that they’re not serious about governing,” O’Connell said. If Republicans back down and fully fund Homeland Security, he said, Democrats “know that what will happen is eventually the conservatives will turn on the establishment Republicans.”
For GOP leaders, O’Connell said, “there’s a certain portion of the conservative base they’re going to have a hard time satisfying on this issue.”