All compromise is not equal. This may seem like an obvious statement for most, but for many in the media and politics, the art of compromise is subjective for others, but never for themselves.
Compromise invokes different meanings depending on the situation and roles of those involved. In politics and policy, the truest statement for many is that you can compromise on processes, but you can’t compromise on principle. However, it is also true that politics has its own set of rules. What is seen as extreme and obstructionism based on a certain political persuasion, suddenly is downplayed or dismissed when those of a different political persuasion hold an opposing view. One politician’s principle is seen as noble, while another’s is seen as extreme, from a certain vantage point.
We find ourselves discussing compromise because once again our representatives in Washington, D.C. are embroiled in several debates, and paramount among them is the funding of the Department of Homeland Security. Both sides are blaming each other for the impasse. All the while the media plays the role of antagonist, which they relish. What is clear is that we can all claim to want compromise, until that compromise is made at the expense of our own personal values and principles.
As CNN cranks up the doomsday clock and many in the media again warn of Armageddon, there seems to be some confusion as to the controversy. The House passed a DHS funding bill that would fully fund the department, except for policies directly connected to President Obama’s executive orders on immigration. In our system of government (not a democracy, but a constitutional-republic), the power of the purse is controlled by the House of Representatives. The U.S. Constitution is clear on this (http://tinyurl.com/yqm97q).
The issue of funding the executive orders is completely within the purview of the U.S. House, and its actions are so ordained. There are two serious issues related to why the House elected not to fund the debatable executive orders. First, under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4, it is the sole role/power of the U.S. Congress to “…establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization.” Obama’s actions change existing law, and create new law, a power the presidency does not possess. Second, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled against Obama’s executive orders on immigration. Hanen stated that states would “suffer irreparable harm in this case,” related to Obama’s actions, and that “The genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle,” adding that once funded, the policy and funding would be a “virtually irreversible” action.
The House acted not only in accordance of the Constitution, but in light of the federal court ruling, in a prudent manner.
The constitutionally passed funding was then sent to the U.S. Senate where seven Democrats forged a filibuster that stopped debate on the House bill. The Democrats would not allow the bill on the Senate floor for discussion. This is why a majority of Americans are frustrated with Washington, D.C. The U.S. House passed a clean bill, removing funding currently found unconstitutional by a federal court, acting within the constitutional powers of Congress. No tricks or shenanigans. It is the Senate Democrats who are the obstructionists by not even permitting a debate on the bill. Additionally, Minority Leader Harry Reid and Obama have again vowed not to budge, declaring there will be no compromise.
The simplest solution would be to allow the Senate to debate the bill and take a vote. The funding deemed inappropriate by a federal court is not essential in any way to day-to-day operations of the DHS. If the Obama administration convinces the judicial branch that Obama’s actions were constitutionally permissible, then a separate funding bill can be introduced in the House to fund the executive orders. However, this is where the matter of compromise becomes an issue of principle. On one side we have those in Congress standing on principle, supported by the Constitution, that these executive orders are not constitutional. On the other side you have Obama, supported by a handful of obstructionist Democratic senators, using an often despised Senate rule (one not defined within the Constitution) to stop debate on the funding bill the Democrats claim is “critical” to our national security. It is clear it is the president and some Senate Democrats who hold politics above our country’s safety — a fact misreported by a media more interested in creating the illusion of conflict, than reporting the facts.
It is historically understood that the federal government wins seven of every 10 cases it argues before the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the Obama administration has lost a majority of its cases at the Supreme Court. We should heed the words of the federal court when it stated “The genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle.” In this case compromise is overrated, and political posturing seems to be the order of the day once again.