Congress approved a full year’s funding for the rest of the federal government in December, but Republicans held back funding for DHS in reaction to Obama’s immigration actions, giving the agency budget authority only through midnight Feb. 27.
Now, with four days before the security agency’s budget lapses, senior Republicans are pushing for a new strategy that does not directly link Obama’s actions on immigration to funding for DHS. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who had previously acknowledged that the chamber was in stalemate over the issue, set up votes later this week on separate legislation that would repeal one of Obama’s immigration actions.
Those actions, announced in December, would grant temporary relief from deportation to more than 4 million illegal immigrants. McConnell’s hope is that moving the immigration issue onto a separate bill may create a path for the DHS funding bill to go through.
“It’s another way to get the Senate unstuck,” McConnell said.
But getting a clean bill past the House once again comes down to Boehner selling it to a base that wants to obliterate Democrats from the country.
Outside conservative groups, including Heritage Action, have been pushing Republicans not to not approve a “clean” funding plan, demanding that any DHS budget include the immigration provisions that would reverse Obama’s actions.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has sided with Heritage Action and other conservatives, even after the judge’s ruling last week that could tie up the issue for many months in the courts.
“The House has passed a bill to fund the Homeland Security Department, but Senate Democrats are blocking debate on it — and, with just days left before the deadline, President Obama is doing nothing to help,” Michael Steel, Boehner’s spokesman, said Monday in a statement.
So even if a clean bill passes the Senate, it's not passing the House. And time is running out.