Senate Hits Wall as Dems Block DHS Funding

Mitch McConnell edges toward new plan against immigration order
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2015 7:15 PM CST
Senate Hits Wall as Dems Block DHS Funding
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, joined by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, takes questions from reporters during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 10, 2015.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Funding for Homeland Security teetered closer to the proverbial cliff today as Senate Democrats again stalled a bill to fund the US agency—but a compromise may be in the works. Senators voted nearly down the middle, 47 for and 46 against, on a measure that needed 60 votes to take up the House bill, CNN reports. Democrats opposed it for the fourth time in four weeks because, they say, it contains poison pills to stop President Obama's immigration orders. "I don't understand what my Republican friends are trying to do," says Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. "Their plan is destined to fail." Now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is edging toward a new solution: dividing the DHS and immigration efforts into two separate bills, Politico reports.

A rep for John Boehner applauded the move, but House conservatives seem opposed and Democrats may not go for it either, the AP reports. The apparent plan is to vote on Obama's immigration order (which would protect about 5 million illegals from deportation) before voting on DHS funding separately. But the funding deadline is Friday, and Obama has warned that states will feel the economic pain if DHS shuts down and tens of thousands of workers are furloughed. Meanwhile, Republicans are divided over the effect of a Texas judge blocking Obama's immigration order: Some say it supports their fight in Congress, while others say the courts should handle it. "Leave it to the courts," says Sen. John McCain. "I think we have an excellent case before the Supreme Court." (Read more Congress stories.)

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