The determination of the Senate Democratic minority to block passage of a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill that defunds President Barack Obama's executive policies on immigration has left House Republicans deeply divided, The Washington Post
On Friday, the Senate passed a bill to finance DHS through September without the restrictions conservatives demanded to curb Obama's immigration actions.
In an effort to prevent a DHS shutdown, House Speaker John Boehner was thwarted Friday by his own members in trying to get the House to finance the agency for three weeks. The Senate and House then voted on a one-week extension which Obama signed into law.
With a new deadline looming, the Senate wants a vote on a no-strings-attached bill that finances DHS, followed by a separate vote on a bill to block Obama's executive actions, according The New York Times.
The Freedom Caucus — comprised of 10 lawmakers who broke with the conservative Republican Study Committee because they do not trust the ideological purity of either the House GOP leadership or the RSC — were able to gather the support of 52 Republicans to oppose Boehner's three-week funding bill, the Post reported.
Boehner and his leadership team, which includes Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, are reluctant to turn to the Democrats to overcome the divisions on their own side, according to the Post.
A majority of House conservatives support the leadership approach, which Scalise describes as fighting Obama's "illegal actions on immigration" and forcing the Senate to compromise along Republican lines in conference, according to the Post.
Nunes denounced the Freedom Caucus as "phony" conservatives "who have no credible policy proposals and no political strategy to stop Obama's lawlessness."
The divisions within Republican ranks have stoked rumors that the Freedom Caucus would try a long-shot maneuver to drive Boehner out as speaker. Some 30 Republicans might back such a move on the grounds that he is insufficiently conservative, but to succeed they would need Democratic backing.
Freedom Caucus leader Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio
has denied he planned to try to topple the speaker.
There is also a rift between Senate Republicans who want to take a pragmatic approach to governing and their House colleagues.
"We should have never fought this battle," said Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois
, the Times reported. "In my view, in the long run, if you are blessed with the majority, you are blessed with the power to govern. If you're going to govern, you have to act responsibly." the Times reported.
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