The House of Representatives passed legislation late Friday to fund the Homeland Security Department for one week with just two hours before a midnight deadline, but Rep. Matt Salmon was not one of those who supported the measure.
"Passing bills that do nothing but kick the can down the road is something that has become commonplace in Washington," the Arizona Republican said after the vote. "I pledge to continue this fight in one week, so we can responsibly fund the Department of Homeland Security without funding the president’s unconstitutional actions."
GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, however, voted for the measure because "we do not want to send the message to our enemies that we're going to close down Homeland Security.
"We do want to send the message that we are going to be diligent — and we're going to make sure that when we do the job, the job is done right," she told Newsmax.
The two Republicans were on opposite sides of a 357-60 vote in the House on a one-week stopgap spending bill to fund Homeland Security. The move came with just hours to spare before a midnight deadline that would have shut down portions of the agency.
The Senate had already passed the one-week extension on a voice vote a few hours earlier, and President Barack Obama was expected to quickly sign it.
The House vote climaxed a hectic day on Capitol Hill that included a stinging rebuke to House Speaker John Boehner from 52 angry conservatives, who joined with Democrats to defeat legislation he sponsored that would have extended DHS funding for three weeks.
That vote was 224-203, which included 12 Democrats backing the legislation.
"This debate is about President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty, and I refuse to violate the oath of office that I took as a representative of the people to uphold our Constitution," the Arizona Republican said after voting against a three-week funding bill. "If the president chooses to shut down DHS because he cares more about giving amnesty to illegal immigrants than the security of the people he was sworn to protect, then he will have to deal with those repercussions.
"Republicans must stand for something or we will fall for everything," Gosar added. "If we do not stop this dangerous precedent of a lawless executive branch, we risk diminishing the institution of Congress and the indispensable separation of powers granted to us by our founders."
The surprise defeat of the three-week extension bill sent Boehner and other members of his leadership team scrambling for an alternative before the Senate passed the seven-day measure.
Earlier Friday, the upper chamber approved, 68-31, a "clean" bill that grants Homeland Security $39.7 billion through the end of the fiscal year. A separate bill defunding Obama's executive amnesty orders failed on a 57-42 procedural vote.
Blackburn told Newsmax that it was important that Homeland Security be funded in light of next week's address to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "We want to make sure the focus is on that."
She also cited the injunction imposed earlier this month by a federal judge in Texas against President Obama's executive amnesty orders.
U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen temporarily blocked Obama's orders,
which would grant work permits and deportation relief to as many as 5 million illegals. He backed Texas and 24 other states in their lawsuit against the administration over the unilateral actions.
The White House is appealing Hanen's decision.
"There is an injunction, so the president cannot use the money for executive amnesty," Blackburn said. "This gives the Senate the opportunity to do the right thing, which is to go to conference with us on the House-passed bill."
Republican Congressman Tom Marino of Pennsylvania also cited Hanen's injunction in his support of the three-week extension that was defeated.
"The district judge made the right ruling in granting the injunction, and the administration has a couple of big hurdles to get over to ask the appellate court to remove that injunction," Marino said.
"My colleagues that voted in the House are convinced that the president has violated the Constitution, and I agree with them," the congressman told Newsmax. "But I think that if we play our cards right, the court will play an important role in this.
"We get a message across to the president that we're not just going to roll over."
The opposition to the three-week extension included conservative, tea party-backed Republicans and Democrats. The GOP balked that the legislation had been stripped of the amnesty language, while Democrats stood down because it lacked full-year funding for Homeland Security.
Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urged party members in advance to allow a vote on a measure to keep the department funded through Sept. 30 — the end of the fiscal year. That move had been rejected by GOP leaders.
"You have made a mess," the California representative charged to Republicans during the floor debate.
But Tennessee GOP Rep. Diane Black slammed Democrats for opposing the short-term legislation.
"A short-term continuing resolution would have allowed us to avoid a Democrat-led DHS shutdown and fight the president’s overreaches on the firmest ground possible while continuing to pursue a favorable resolution through regular order in the form of a conference committee," she said.
"The failure of this bill is truly a missed opportunity to combat President Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty," Black added. "I promised to fight this power grab to the end."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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