Senate OKs Funding For Homeland Security; House Has Rival Plan

February 27, 2015

The Senate has voted to fund the Department of Homeland Security through Sept. 30, providing the agency with full funding. The bill does not include any provisions that would block President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

Both the House and Senate are holding votes Friday on bills to fund the DHS, and there’s a chance the Senate might approve the House’s new proposal of a three-week funding extension, to avoid a shutdown.

“I don’t know if [the House] can pass the three-week bill,” Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York told MSNBC Friday. “We would much prefer they do a full funding bill, but we’re not going to shut the government down.”

Update at 11:22 a.m. ET: Senate Approves Full Funding

The Senate has voted to fund Homeland Security through Sept. 30, providing the agency with full funding. The final tally was 68-31.

The Senate is expected to take up the House’s stop-gap measure later Friday, if it passes. That legislation has been moving forward in the House.

Our original post continues:

Just a day before the DHS was set to run out of money (at midnight tonight), Republicans in the Senate had come to terms with the need for a “clean” bill to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security, one that doesn’t require changes to the executive actions President Obama has taken on immigration.

As NPR’s Ailsa Chang reported, they’ve been hoping the House would follow suit.

Ailsa quotes Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who says the burden of the majority is the burden of governing: “As a governing party, we’ve got to fund DHS and say to the House, ‘Here’s a straw, so you can suck it up.’ ”

But on Thursday night, Republican leaders in the House came up with a different idea: to fund DHS for just three weeks to give the two chambers of Congress time to work out a compromise measure.

As The Associated Press reports, some Republicans in the House have said that shutting down DHS would be an acceptable cost of thwarting the executive actions on immigration.

From the AP:

” ‘Shutting down’ the agency known as DHS ‘is a set of words that don’t really have the meaning that people attribute to it,’ said Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama. ‘There was hardly any effect whatsoever on the Department of Homeland Security from the last shutdown, and I would anticipate a similar effect this time.’

“Brooks was referring to the 2013 partial federal government shutdown that Americans blamed mostly on Republicans, and which many GOP leaders have vowed not to repeat.”

House Republicans have noted that many DHS workers, such as transportation security officers, were declared “essential” and went to work as normal during that shutdown. But as Ailsa reported earlier this week, those security officers were left without paychecks until after the shutdown was resolved.

Even if Congress adopts the three-week stopgap measure, the leaders of the two chambers will have to figure out how to resolve their different views — and their different styles.

“You know, the House by nature and by design is a hell of a lot more rambunctious place than the Senate,” House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday.

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