Senate Republicans know they are making a "feeble" attempt to pass a budget bill that includes an amendment to block President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration, The Daily Caller reported.
But the bill is also aimed at sending a message to the Democratic leadership and the media that GOP support of the bipartisan interim legislation to fund the Department of Homeland is "insincere and half-hearted," according to the report.
Daily Caller White House correspondent Neil Munro also called the GOP backing of Homeland funding "tepid, perfunctory and listless, lackluster, apathetic and unenthusiastic."
"We’re going try to pass it," said Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell about the GOP’s separate budget bill blocking amnesty. "If we’re unable to do that, we’ll see what happens."
But Senate whip John Cornyn of Texas made it clear that the battle over funding for the department that controls immigration laws would not lead to a similar government shutdown to the crisis in 2013, which was instigated by conservative members, such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
"Under no circumstances will we see any shutdowns. No more drama … that’s off the table," said Cornyn, although his comment appeared to imply that there was a rift in the party between conservatives and more establishment members.
Two months ago, Obama unilaterally announced an amnesty for around 5 million illegal immigrants who have children born in the United States.
House Speaker John Boehner was then criticized by conservatives in December when he helped to pass legislation that funded the Homeland agency, and therefore the immigration amnesty, until the end of February.
But last month he caved in to mounting pressure from the GOP right and allowed House Republicans to pass legislation that would approve funding for Homeland from February until October, while also excluding the agency from implementing Obama’s immigration orders.
The president has warned that he will veto the House’s bill if the Senate approves it and sends it to him to sign off on, according to The Daily Caller, which noted that the veto would not shut down the agency because law enforcement officers would continue to perform their duties.
"Obviously we want to give our members an opportunity to vote to express their opposition to the president’s action, but we also realize at the end of the day in the Senate it’s going to take 60 votes," Sen. John Thune said at the joint House and Senate GOP retreat in Hershey, Pa.
"We want to be able to give our members in the Senate an opportunity to vote as the House members did. There may be different ways and approaches to this issue that we can get the point across."
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