OXON HILL, Md. – What near-miss on a Department of Homeland Security shutdown?
To hear Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers address activists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, there were no hints of an intraparty fight the night before that led to the brink of a partial shutdown of the agency tasked with border control and anti-terrorism. In her remarks, the Republican Conference chairwoman made no mention of the standoff that split conservatives from establishment Republican lawmakers.
"I've lived the American Dream, but, sadly, for too many, the American Dream is fading," said McMorris Rogers, the fourth-ranking Republican in the House leadership and the top House lawmaker to appear on CPAC's main stage.
In her remarks, she reminisced about her childhood on a Washington state orchard and spoke of her disagreements with President Barack Obama. She was silent on the drama that unfolded nearby a day earlier, perhaps because it's unclear whether the GOP has an answer to avoid a repeat of what Congresswdcpho — and the nation — had just weathered.
Late Friday, the House Republicans refused to adopt a three-week spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security. Many conservatives insisted that no cash would go to the department unless Obama's executive orders on immigration were voided.
A stopgap, one-week accord won last-minute passage, and Obama signed it into law. But that sets up a similar showdown in less than a week.
McMorris Rogers was asked after the speech if the process would improve next week. "I don't think it will be any worse," she said.
She also said it is important for House Republicans to work with Senate Republicans to avoid a similar crisis.
Even though House Republicans have large numbers on their side, they aren't enough to ensure the party can line up a majority on contentious issues. The GOP advantage is 245-188 with two vacancies.