With just over two weeks until funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) runs out, Senate Republican leaders say they have reached an impasse on funding for the department, The New York Times reported
Debate on the bill has been blocked in the Senate, where Republicans have tried and failed three times to pass a bill to finance the department's operations.
Senate Democrats —
united against anything other than a "clean" bill that does not roll back President Barack Obama's executive actions protecting as many as 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation —
have filibustered to prevent the Senate from taking up the funding bill.
has said he will veto any legislation overturning his executive actions.
"I think it's clearly stuck in the Senate," Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.
"We can't get on it; we can't offer amendments to it," the Kentucky Republican said of the funding bill. "And the next step is obviously up to the House."
But the funding fight isn't simply between Senate Democrats and Republicans. GOP leaders in the House and Senate appear to be engaged in a debate of their own, with each saying that it is up to the other chamber to come up with a solution.
Last month, the House passed legislation to pay for DHS operations, but it included provisions killing the president's actions to protect illegals.
House Speaker John Boehner —
under fire from the Republican right in his chamber over immigration —
says it is time for Senate Republicans to come up with a way to force an end to Senate Democrats' filibuster.
"God bless him and good luck," Boehner said of McConnell. "He's got a tough job over there. I've got a tough job over here."
But Sen. John Cornyn of Texas —
the No. 2 Senate Republican —
counters that "we've done the best we can, but at some point the arithmetic is reality."
One option being floated in the Senate is some sort of short-term funding bill which would postpone the confrontation by several months. But Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has rejected that option.
Rep. Raul Labrador, an Idaho Republican, warned that Democrats would be making a mistake if they think they can get away with forcing an impasse by letting DHS funding expire at the end of the month.
Labrador said that if Obama vetoes a DHS funding bill, conservatives are prepared to argue that Obama values illegal immigrants more than protecting the American people from terrorists.
If Republicans take that case to the American people, "the American people will revolt," he told The Hill.
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