House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the Senate should change its rules to help pass permanent funding for the Department of Homeland Security.
Appearing Sunday on "Meet the Press,"
the California Republican blamed the logjam on President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats, whom he accused of using procedural rules to prevent defunding of Obama's executive actions on immigration.
The Senate voted 57-42 to defund the portion of the DHS budget that pays for Obama's actions, but that is three votes shy of the 60 needed for a supermajority. Obama has vowed to veto the bill even if it passes.
Host Chuck Todd asked if that meant he favored using the so-called "nuclear option" that then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid imposed in the last session to avoid filibusters on judicial nominees.
McCarthy said yes in principle, though he wouldn't use the term "nuclear option."
"That is not nuclear when 57 percent of the American representation says it's wrong," he said. "That's not in the Constitution. I think they should change the rules."
Congress passed a one-week stop-gap measure funding DHS through next Friday after conservative GOP members of the House stopped the Senate-passed bill that left in all funding.
Todd asked whether a better strategy would have been to allow the funding since a Texas federal court judge already has placed Obama's orders on hold until a decision is made on the constitutionality of the executive actions.
McCarthy said Republicans aren't agreed on strategy, but are untied in their effort to stop what they call Obama's "executive amnesty" of granting legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.
"Could we have done better on Friday, yes? And will we? Yes, we will," McCarthy said. "We took up legislation five weeks ago so we did not have a cliff. If there is somebody not being an adult, it is the Democrats that are trying to use an advantage tool rule to not let the majority govern in the Senate."
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