Congress Now Bickering Over 'Clean' Homeland Security Bill

Dems want House GOP guarantee before agreeing to McConnell's offer
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2015 4:07 AM CST
Updated Feb 25, 2015 7:30 AM CST
Senate GOP Offers 'Clean' Homeland Security Bill
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, stand together at a ceremony earlier this month.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Congress has until Friday to either pass a bill to fund Homeland Security or appear completely dysfunctional—and it's not looking great for the former option. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has offered a vote on a "clean bill" to fund the agency, followed by one on President Obama's executive actions on immigration, but Senate Democrats have threatened to block even the clean bill unless John Boehner guarantees that the House GOP will pass a similar bill, reports the New York Times. The Times also notes that the standoff shows that Senate Democrats appear "willing to employ the same tactics they deplored when Republicans used them just months before when Democrats controlled the chamber."

Boehner is scheduled to hold a meeting of his conference this morning, and it's not clear whether he'll be able to muster enough votes for a bill that doesn't link Homeland Security funding to immigration, reports the Hill. Sources tell Politico that the GOP split between immigration hardliners and moderates was evident at a meeting of Republican senators yesterday, where Alabama's Sen. Jeff Sessions argued against McConnell's two-vote plan and called for "all-out battle" with Democrats. Insiders complain that House and Senate GOP leaders appear unable to agree on a strategy. "It seems like McConnell and Boehner aren't even talking to each other," one veteran GOP senator tells Politico. "It is mind-boggling." (Read more Department of Homeland Security stories.)

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