In December, Congress managed to reach agreement on a $1.1tn spending bill to prevent the government from going into shutdown. However, this did not include funding for the Department of Homeland Security beyond this Friday (27th Feb). The reason for this was that the Republicans had hoped to hold back this bargaining chip as a way to get President Obama to rescind his executive order on immigration. However, now days out from the funding for this Department drying up altogether, there is still no agreement. Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader of the Senate, had said he would not allow the Department to close down, and has sought ways to break the impasse by looking to move DHS funding and repeal of immigration into two separate bills, but one without the other is somewhat less threatening to Obama than the current situation.
this could be used for a wide range of examples. Firstly, many students fall into the trap of attributing the House of Representatives with all power over money; in reality they have the power to INITIATE money bills. As these are still bills, they still have to go through Senate, which in this case is where the sticking point is. It could also be used to show the importance (or not) of leadership in the Senate with Mitch McConnell being front and centre of this whole debate. Finally, it underlines some level of control that Congress do have in controlling the federal bureaucracy by removing their funding from them – this could however be likened to using a cannon to kill a fly as it is questionable whether removing all funding from a Department constitutes demonstrating control over it.