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Mitch Perry Report for 2.17.15 — Will the GOP fold on DHS funding?

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed Presidents Day. What? You didn’t get the day off? Well, hey, it is a federal holiday, but other than students and government workers (and a few folks we know in the private sector), it was pretty much a working Monday for the rest of us.

Not for Congress, though. As is their wont, when the rest (or even just some) of us get a rare holiday off, they take the whole darned week to rest and relax. Which is not a news flash, except for this: The Department of Homeland Security’s funding is due to expire a week from Friday. That’s sort of serious, but apparently not that serious. Or Congress would still be in session. Right?

To remind you of what’s happening here: In a buildup similar to the government shutdown back in October of 2013, House Republicans are refusing to pass any bill that funds DHS that doesn’t contain a provision overturning the Obama Administration’s executive orders on undocumented immigrants. And Senate Democrats are refusing to debate any DHS funding bill that includes that language. When asked about it on Fox News Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner said, “The House has acted. We’ve done our job.”

Boehner and other Republicans say if DHS shuts down, it’s on the Dems.

“Senate Democrats are the ones putting us in this precarious position,” he said. “It’s up to Senate Democrats to get their act together.”

But it’s not just Senate Democrats who are taking issue with what the House is doing. Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake have also expressed indignation about what’s playing out here.

The Hill reports that most House Republicans aren’t worried about being blamed if DHS does shut down, because most DHS employees are considered “essential,” meaning that workers such as border patrol agents and TSA employees would remain on the job, though without pay.

But do they want to take that chance?

“I think a shutdown would be a huge mistake for a whole host of reasons, especially given the fact we have ISIS on the march and terrorism again in Europe,” said U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., says.

Stay tuned to the latest developments. That is, when they resume next week.

In other news …

There are lots downtown Tampa residents sick of hearing CSX trains honking their horns at 3:30 in the morning. That’s why the city of Tampa spent $90,000 to see what it would cost to implement so-called “quiet zones.” They recently received that report, and it’s going to cost the city more than $1 million  to address it.

In Tampa, Gov. Rick Scott went to Tampa International Airport to boast about the record number of tourists who visited Florida last year. But the governor says he knows tourism jobs aren’t enough, which is why he again lobbied for the Legislature to make permanent a sales tax exemption for the purchase of some manufacturing equipment.

Progressive activists who are determined to persuade Elizabeth Warren to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president aren’t going away. Monday they cut an ad and unveiled a website exhorting the Massachusetts senator to Run Warren Run.

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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