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5 Reasons to Expect Congress Will Act to Keep Homeland Security Agency Open

Posted on February 25, 2015
Obama Health Care Speech to Joint Session of Congress.jpg

"Obama Health Care Speech to Joint Session of Congress" by Lawrence Jackson - whitehouse.gov. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.



(This originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank)

Here are five reasons to expect that Congress will get its act together and fund the Department of Homeland Security before the agency’s money runs out at the end of the week:

1. Risk management: The risk of shutting down DHS is just too great. Given the turmoil in the Middle East thanks to Islamic State and worries at home about a flood of illegal immigrants coming across the U.S. border, there is no upside, politically or otherwise, in letting this vital government agency close.

2. The president doesn’t want it:  While a closure might serve Barack Obama’s political interests, it doesn’t serve his management interests. This is a distraction that the president simply doesn’t need right now.

3. Republican leaders don’t want it: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made very clear that there will be no government shutdowns on his watch. House Speaker John Boehner shocked the Washington establishment this month by stating that the House has done its job and that he would wait for the Senate to act. But it never made sense for the House to negotiate against itself by passing two bills. The Senate will send something over to the House, and that’s the legislation lawmakers will pass.

4. The judiciary has provided the perfect excuse: A federal judge in Texas gave Republicans an exit ramp last week by staying the president’s executive order on immigration. As with Obamacare, the judicial branch will be the ultimate “decider” in this case.

5. There’s plenty of time left on the clock: DHS funding may expire on Friday, but when it comes to congressional action we haven’t even reached the two-minute warning. There is plenty of time for the House and the Senate to act. If I were a betting man, I would put my money on DHS staying open.