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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/28/15

The Homeland Security Cliff -- and the Disastrous Cliffhanger!

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As noted baseball player Yogi Berra was fond of saying, it seems like deja vu all over again. Remember the "fiscal cliff" of late 2012? In case you are a bit hazy on it, here is a description from Investopedia: "A combination of expiring tax cuts and across-the-board government spending cuts scheduled to become effective Dec. 31, 2012. The idea behind the fiscal cliff was that if the federal government allowed these two events to proceed as planned, they would have a detrimental effect on an already shaky economy, perhaps sending it back into an official recession as it cut household incomes, massively increased unemployment rates and undermined consumer and investor confidence." Based on that definition combined with our national panic over the "fiscal cliff" and how to avoid it, it was not at all a good thing.

How much worse, then, is the present and ongoing Homeland Security Cliff. Now, we have a one-week extension of funding for the federal Department of Homeland Security which passed both houses of Congress very close to the deadline for shutting down our vital homeland security apparatus -- threat investigations, airport and other security, counter-terrorism, and so much more would have lost funding at once without that emergency one-week extension. Obviously, the Congress (which perhaps should be renamed Regress) and the nation now have to go through the entire bloody business in only a few days, as early in March the Homeland Security Cliff looms over us once again.

Before anyone revels in the embarrassment of the Right Wing in the House and Senate, and particularly the discomfort of House Speaker John Boehner who could not marshal his troops and was reduced to making inane remarks and funny faces, let us recognize the truth that there is plenty of blame to go around in this "theater of the absurd." Nobody comes out smelling like a rose when these repeated Congressional Crises occur -- and one can almost hear the cheering from the sidelines by terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda, as they await the dropping of our homeland security shield with bated breath.

Nevertheless, it is not at all difficult to locate the genesis of the present Homeland Security Cliff, which occurred solely because the Republican now-majority in both House and Senate knowingly chose to link our homeland security to the reversal of President Barack Obama's executive order easing some immigration rules, mainly to stop the horrid deportations of family members who had lived here in limbo for years and decades. The lack of any logical connection between immigration rules and homeland security was clearly irrelevant to those Republicans who were, and are, willing to risk the very safety of this nation in order to try to shaft its President and some long-term undocumented residents. This linkage is not merely illogical, it is indeed despicable, and even treasonous. The Supreme Court -- not Congress -- is the proper place to challenge executive orders.

Before that one-week Homeland Security Cliff deadline arrives early in March, the House and the Senate need to agree on a so-called "clean bill" which totally drops any linkage between executive orders on immigration and Homeland Security funding. Indeed, there should never have been any such illogical linkage in the first place. The Republican majority in both houses of Congress absolutely needs to put the public interest and the national welfare, safety, and security ahead of their partisan desire to prevent anything which President Barack Obama attempts to achieve. The nation will soon know, once and for all, if the Right Wing is even capable of putting the national interest ahead of their mean-spirited and vindictive goals. If they continue to be willing to risk our safety and security to achieve political ends, their misconduct is indeed treasonous, and should be treated as such. This "theater of the absurd" needs to be ended, once and for all.

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Author's Biography Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)

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