WASHINGTON – The real fight in the Capitol isn’t between Democrats and Republicans, it’s between House and Senate Republicans, at least when it comes to funding the Department of Homeland Security.
As the deadline to fund DHS once again looms, the Senate threw the ball back to the House’s court. On a 58-31 vote Monday, the Senate tabled the bill instead of sending it to a conference committee.
On Friday, just hours away from a DHS shutdown, the president signed a bill to fund the department for one more week. The countdown to Friday began once more.
Senators stood on the floor Monday to urge House members to be part of the bipartisan effort that would fully fund the department until the end of fiscal year.
Some House members have expressed concerns about the way DHS funding has been handled. Rep. Mark Takai, D-Hawaii, said on the House floor earlier Monday that forcing a debate through the nation’s security was not the proper way to deal with immigration.
After the Senate vote took place, Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer, N.Y.; Debbie Stabenow, Mich.; Jean Shaheen, N.H., and Tom Carper., Del., held a briefing.
Shaheen said the government cannot allow any more short-term measures and that legislators need to stop playing politics with the department, which has the task of keeping the country safe.
“This has already gone too far,” Schumer said.
Carper and Schumer said the place for Republicans to fight Obama’s executive actions is in the courts.
Last week, when it appeared the shutdown was going to be a reality, the Senate took the spotlight by passing a bipartisan bill that would fully fund DHS. The bipartisan effort separated a vote on the president’s immigration actions from DHS funding.
This new bill, sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, would repeal President Barack Obama’s executive actions in November, allowing many undocumented adults to remain in the country. Republicans and some Democrats have labeled the executive order unconstitutional.
It was uncertain if the bill to fund DHS without the immigration amendment would pass the House because House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, did not appear to be in on the deal that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was offering.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., expressed his concerns regarding Beohner’s approval of the bill and said he would only agree to the Republicans’ deal if he had a guarantee from Boehner that he’d be in as well.
The House is likely to bring DHS funding to the floor later this week.
Reach reporter Alicia Alvarez at [email protected] or 202-408-1489. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire. Like the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire interns on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Download photos: DHS-Sens.zip