Jason Kander, Roy Blunt’s Democratic challenger for his Senate seat, is fielding a petition on his campaign Website to prevent the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from closing. Here’s what Kander has to say about the insane willingness of Republicans in the Congress to sacrifice DHS to their desire to send a “message” to the president – and maybe to the crazies in their base – on the issue of immigration:
Tomorrow at midnight, funding expires for the Department of Homeland Security.
As Homeland Security Secretary Johnson said, it is “indulging in a fantasy to believe you can shut down the Department of Homeland Security and there be no impact to homeland security itself.”
Add your name and tell Congress: Stop playing games with our national security and vote to fund the Department of Homeland Security before Friday night at midnight.
Compare Kander’s serious approach to the don’t-bother-me, who-gives-a-damn attitude of GOP insider Blunt, who voted against the “clean” bill that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently brought up in the Senate in order to avoid the shutdown:
“This is a debate over funding a part of government so essential that if funding is not there, almost all of the employees show up anyway. They’re considered essential,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said recently on the Senate floor.
Except that folks who know, know that’s not true:
While the most critical DHS functions – such as border and airport security and immigration enforcement – would continue, a review of the 2013 shutdown showed that some effects will be felt acutely in areas where the department already faces problems.
The 2013 shutdown provides a template for how DHS would be affected this time. A 2013 Congressional Research Service report found that an estimated 31,295 DHS employees were furloughed, but about 85 percent of the department’s workforce remained on the job.
The report said that “the total number of employees furloughed was relatively small compared with the overall size of the department,” but it pointed to a number of significant effects.
DHS procurement “activities were disrupted to some extent,” the report said, noting that DHS is the sixth-largest federal agency for procurement spending.
Other effects included the suspension of E-Verify, a program businesses use to determine the work eligibility of new employees, and a shutdown of the department’s civil rights and civil liberties complaint lines.
In the cyber arena – where DHS plays a key role in combatting attacks aimed at civilian federal networks and communicating with critical industries – there would be further impacts from a shutdown, DHS officials said.
The operational problems of the potential shutdown, however, are separate from the fact that a rich politician like Blunt is so willing to casually dismiss damage that shutting down jobs – or pay for those who, like a reverse Wempy, have to work today for a hamburger tomorrow – assuming that they can make it until tomorrow. At the very least, attitudes like Blunt’s isn’t gonna do a lot of good for morale, and, as I remember from my days as a manager, morale is a big part of how well things run.
And for what? A Republican colleague of Blunt, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, describes the bone of contention succinctly: “Hopefully we’re gonna end the attaching of bullshit to essential items of the government.” Get that? Even sane GOPers thinks the tantrum is over a pile of steaming BS.
But wait a minute. Doesn’t Blunt usually like to pose as a sane GOPer? Is he really so scared of a rightwing challenger in 2016 – or just rightwing indifference come voting time – that he’ll sacrifice the good of the country to protect jingoistic BS? It seems to me that he needs to take to heart the rest of Senator Kirk’s comments: “In the long-run, if you are blessed with the majority, you’re blessed with the power to govern. If you’re gonna govern, you have to act responsibly.” Kander isn’t even the junior Senator from Missouri yet and he’s trying to do just that. What’s wrong with Blunt? You think he really just doesn’t give a damn as long as he can get the Big Money boys to keep paying his bills?