Monday 01/06/2020 - 12:36 pm

GOP Struggles for Way out as Homeland Shutdown Looms

2015.02.24 03:54

 Divided Republicans are searching for a way out of an impasse over immigration that is threatening to shut down the Homeland SecurityDepartment within days.

With the agencys budget set to expire Friday at midnight without action by Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Monday he would remove language overturning President Barack Obamas contested immigration measures from the departments funding bill.
The move seemed aimed at pressuring Senate Democrats who have opposed the legislation because the immigration language is included. It also would allow Republicans who oppose Obamas executive actions on immigration to register their opposition with a stand-alone vote on a separate measure.
But McConnell left unclear how he would get the departments funding bill passed ahead of Fridays midnight deadline to fund the department or see it shut down.
"This proposal doesnt bring us any closer to actually funding DHS, and Republicans still have no real plan to achieve that goal," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. "Its a disgrace that ISIS and al-Shabab are fully funded, but thanks to Republican game-playing, the Department of Homeland Security might not be." ISIS is one acronym for the Islamic State militant group that has taken over much of Iraq and Syria. Over the weekend, a video purported to be released by Somalias al-Qaida-linked rebel group al-Shabab urged Muslims to attack shopping malls in Western countries.
After last weeks federal court ruling putting Obamas immigration programs on hold, a growing number of Senate Republicans argued for letting the immigration fight play out in court, and passing a "clean" bill to fund Homeland Security, free of the language on immigration.
"Leave it to the courts. I think we have an excellent case before the Supreme Court," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Monday night.
House conservatives, by contrast, said the court developments only strengthened their resolve to use the Homeland Security budget to fight Obama on immigration. They remained adamantly opposed to a funding bill that doesnt include language blocking Obama on immigration, and also said they would not support a short-term extension of current funding levels.
"If the decision from the court has done anything, its reaffirmed that the House was right to do what it did," said Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., adding that now that Republicans have full control of Congress, they have the responsibility to stand firm against Obama.
"If we pass a clean DHS bill only, how would that result have been any different if the Democrats were still in charge of the Senate?" Mulvaney asked.
It was unclear whether McConnell would succeed in breaking the unity of Senate Democrats, who held together for a fourth time Monday night to block debate on the House bill that funds the Homeland Security Department through the Sept. 30 budget year, while also overturning Obamas moves granting work permits to millions in the U.S. illegally.
"Its another way to get the Senate unstuck from a Democrat filibuster and move the debate forward," McConnell said on the Senate floor after the vote to advance the House-passed bill failed 47-46, short of the 60 votes needed. Three previous attempts earlier in the month had yielded similar results.
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