Republican leaders in the House and Senate are at an impasse about how they will go about funding the Department of Homeland Security, which has been the focal point of the party's strategy to counter President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration, The Washington Post
The House passed a bill that would defund the president's orders, but in the Senate, the leadership has failed three times to get the measure through due to the opposition of Democrats, who are insisting on a clean bill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted the bill was "stuck"
and that it was "clear we can't go forward in the Senate."
"It's time for the Senate to do their work," House Speaker John Boehner
said Wednesday after a meeting with rank-and-file Republicans, according to the Post. "You know, in the gift shop out here, they've got these little booklets on how a bill becomes a law."
He added, "Why don't you go ask the Senate Democrats when they are going to get off their ass and do something other than voting no?"
The threat of a shutdown of the department is looming when the current temporary funding runs out on Feb. 27, a prospect that many Republicans are keen to avoid.
Nevertheless, Republicans are at a loss about how to end the impasse despite talks between the two sides of Congress.
"They explained to us how the Senate process works, and we were glad to have some of our former colleagues do that," Alabama GOP Rep. Bradley Byrne said of a visit by GOP Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, according to the Post.
"From this House member's perspective, and I think that I reflect the vast majority of the members of our conference, the Senate needs to do its job. Period."
Democrats are virtually gleeful about the Republican impasse.
"They're learning how difficult it is to govern," New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer told the Post.
Numerous Senate Republicans are becoming convinced that the House needs to go back to the drawing board and craft a more moderate bill that will get the support of Democrats.
"Clearly the DHS bill, as constructed, is not going to get 60 votes," South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham told the Post. "So we would urge the House to do something new."
The White House has also weighed in.
"The administration believes firmly that it is pretty irresponsible for Republicans in Congress to be playing politics with the budget of the Department of Homeland Security," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, adding that the GOP had "painted itself into a corner," the Post reported.
Meanwhile, a faction of House and Senate conservatives is urging the Republican leadership to force the issue even if it leads to a partial government shutdown, Politico
They believe Democrats would ultimately capitulate in the event of a shutdown and predict Democrats would face the political backlash because of their refusal to debate the matter.
"I have not been one to wave the bloody shirt very often in my 20-plus years in the Congress," Mississippi GOP Sen. Roger Wicker told Politico.
"But on this issue, Republicans are funding the government, and our Democratic colleagues are refusing to even get to the issue — even to show their voters back home where they stand."
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