Tags: Homeland Security | house | homeland | funding | battle

GOP Senators Angry Over House DHS Funding Fight

By    |   Saturday, 28 February 2015 11:45 AM

The ongoing House battle over funding the Department of Homeland Security is angering Republican senators, who say it's time to move on to other issues on the legislative calendar.

"I just think we ought to move on to other things," said Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, according to The Hill. "I'm not sure how it helps for the American people to have the perception that Republicans in the Senate and Republicans in the House are at odds with each other. We have a lot of initiatives I think we could show the American people we can work together on."

Senators are pointing out that it's time to move away from the battle and focus on other vital issues, including trade legislation, regulatory and tax reform, and the budget.

However, the ongoing fight, being waged in an effort to block President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration, has brought the other issues to a virtual halt, with the threat of the Homeland Security department facing a shutdown pushing back on other GOP agenda items.

Late Friday, Congress passed a one-week stopgap bill in an effort to avert the shutdown, with leaders in both parties pushing back against House conservatives who were angry that the budget measure left Obama's plan alone.

The temporary funding measure was passed by a bipartisan vote of 357-60 in the House just a little past an hour after the also-Republican-controlled Senate approved the Homeland Security funding measure without even the need for a roll call vote.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans say it's time to move on from the battle over Obama's executive action, after a federal court ruling in Texas that declared it violates the Administrative Procedure Act. The Obama administration is fighting the ruling, but Senate Republicans believe the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will uphold the lower court's decision.

"Why don’t we just look at the court decision in Texas, declare victory and move on?" said Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake.

And Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., agreed that "when the judge ruled, that was the way I wanted to end it."

But House conservatives are holding out for a bicameral conference to allow the House and Senate to decide on a compromise that would keep funding Homeland Security while repealing some of Obama's executive order.

However, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid ruled that out on Thursday, and many Senate Republicans call those hopes misguided.

"What's frustrating is that the House guys think any of the Democrats over here are under pressure to vote or cloture. They're in their own little bubble, it's myopic," said a Senate Republican, who spoke to The Hill permitted on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already tried four times to start debate on a House DHS funding bill that included the disputed immigration riders, but Democrats would only allow legislation to move forward when McConnell replaced it with a clean funding bill.

McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, have not been in close communication, The Hill reports, with Boehner saying on Wednesday that he and McConnell have not spoken in two weeks.

Senate Republicans who are up against tough reelection battles in 2016 have also been pressing the House to accept the clean funding bill, which would extend DHS funding through September.

"I think the feeling of most people is this is the fight that we should have not fought," said vulnerable Illinois Republican  Sen. Mark Kirk. "We really, 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.'"

Oklahoma GOP Rep. Tom Cole noted that the battle isn't just between political parties, but also the House and Senate.

"I think the decisive arena is the courts," he said. "I think this is about holding our own ground and it's also a message to the Senate."

That message is that "you really do have to vote on things and you really do have to go to conference," Cole said. "You’re not going to just drop something on us the last day and run out of town."

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The ongoing House battle over funding the Department of Homeland Security is angering Republican senators, who say it's time to move on to other issues on the legislative calendar.
house, homeland, funding, battle
Saturday, 28 February 2015 11:45 AM
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