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Editorial: A federal shutdown won't solve immigration mess

FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2014 file

FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2014 file photo, President Barack Obama meets with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., left, and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Facing a new political landscape, President Barack Obama and Sen. Mitch McConnell will meet Wednesday to size up the prospect for potential cooperation between two sides that have shown little interest in working together over the past six years. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) Photo Credit: AP

The last thing the nation needs is the destructive folly of another federal government shutdown.

To avoid one that would begin Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will have to stifle Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and his conservative cohorts. Fortunately, unlike last year, the GOP leaders are making the effort to guide the party away from its worst impulses.

The 16-day shutdown that Cruz spearheaded in October 2013 over Obamacare didn't accomplish anything worthwhile. But it cost an estimated 120,000 private sector jobs that weren't created and about a half-percent of economic growth. A sequel wouldn't accomplish anything either. But that hasn't stopped Cruz and a minority of Republicans from pushing to do it again and hoping for a different result.

The issue this time is President Barack Obama's executive orders allowing 5 million immigrants here illegally to temporarily stay and work. To blunt shutdown sentiment, Boehner and McConnell have offered a plan to fund the government through September 2015 -- except for the Department of Homeland Security, which they would fund possibly only through February as leverage in their immigration fight. That's a ridiculous way to do the nation's business.

The fees immigrants pay, not taxpayer dollars, fund the federal immigration operation. So defunding the Department of Homeland Security because it controls those agencies would merely be symbolic. Voters entrusted Republicans with majorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives. If the GOP wants to counter Obama on immigration, it should pass reform legislation.

The GOP needs to reject farce and accept responsibility to govern.

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