Department of Homeland Security
When did Republicans become the party willing to play a game of chicken with our national security? In their ceaseless drive to undermine President Obama at every turn, they have now backed themselves into a corner with no easy way to get out.
Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. is considered "America's Main Street". Along this road are many historical sites and prominent buildings, namely the U.S. Capitol building, and most known being the 1600 address of The White House. Pennsylvania Avenue has been used as the main road for prominent funeral processions, including 7 of the 8 Presidents that have died while in office.
Congressional Democrats called President Trump’s bluff, and on Monday night, he folded. The Trump administration decided to delay demanding Congress to include border wall funding as part of a spending bill, averting a showdown that threatened to shut down the government as soon as Friday.
“Americans severely misjudged the authoritarians,” Umair Haque, a consultant and social-media maven, commented on Twitter on Saturday night. “But the authoritarians, it seems, also severely misjudged Americans.” Yes, they did, and this weekend’s events offered a bit of hope to everybody alarmed by Donald Trump. Saving America from the most unhinged and least qualified figure ever to occupy the Oval Office may well require a long and bitter fight. But a couple of early markers have been put down. The new President is not beyond the law. And many Americans will not stand by quietly as he traduces their country’s values, threatens its democracy, and destroys its reputation around the world.
A man masquerading as a member of Congress walked into a secure backstage area without being properly screened and spoke with President Obama at an awards dinner last fall. Five days later, a woman walked backstage unchecked at a gala dinner where Obama was a featured guest. Months after that, two people strolled unnoticed past a Secret Service checkpoint into the first layer of the White House grounds.
Even as a 14-year-old at a new school 2,000 miles from home, Kenyon Dunbar understood his new teacher's intentions were good. But the single topic Dunbar didn't want to talk about — couldn't talk about — was the one subject every last person he encountered wanted to know. Only one week earlier, Dunbar, his mother, his grandmother and two younger siblings (along with two strangers) escaped the flooded streets of New Orleans in a stolen car and drove over four hours before finding a motel room near the Texas border. The whole time Dunbar felt the world didn't care if they lived or died. Now they had found refuge in California, where Dunbar's rich uncle lived in the Bay Area, and where Dunbar, who is black, was attending an integrated school for the first time in his life.
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the southeastern United States, killing more than 1,800 people and causing more than $100 billion in damage. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), then run by Michael Brown, was slow to rescue stranded residents and faced shortages of food and water. The agency was widely believed to have failed in its response to storm. Brown was summarily fired. In May, 2009, President Obama nominated Craig Fugate for the job. Fugate previously was the director of the Florida Emergency Management Agency under then-governor Jeb Bush. Since Fugate took control, things have turned around remarkably. The agency received high marks for its handling of Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
On Thursday, United Airlines, the Wall Street Journal, the popular financial blog site ZeroHedge and the New York Stock Exchange all had to shut down their services for “technical reasons.” Although the Department of Homeland Security released a statement saying that there was “no sign of malicious activity” at the New York Stock Exchange, intellectual speculators quickly joined their financial peers to suggest these events were not coincidental and the result of a coordinated cyberattack.
It was all but inevitable, and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) finally cut his losses on Tuesday, telling House Republicans he will allow a vote on legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security without any immigration restrictions. The "clean" DHS funding bill could come up as early as Tuesday. It is expected to pass with overwhelming support from Democrats and enough House Republicans. Boehner laid out three paths to his members in a weekly meeting, according to a source in the room: shutting down DHS, another short-term stopgap bill, or the Senate-passed clean DHS bill. He said the first two weren't good options.
In a West Wing that couldn’t be more cynical about House Republicans, Friday’s Department of Homeland Security funding failure was a new low even they didn’t expect. They’re feeling pretty good about it. White House aides say their hopes for working with Republicans on legislation during President Barack Obama’s last two years are now significantly diminished. They hold out some hope that they might still be able to reach deals on fast-track trade authority, maybe criminal justice reform, possibly some piece of tax reform… and that’s about it.
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