Immigration Executive Actions 2015: Sen. Mitch McConnell Offers 'Clean' DHS Funding Bill, Separates Immigration Executive Actions Amendments
Following the fourth failed vote to debate the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) fund bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced a new standalone legislation to block President Barack Obama's immigration executive actions.
Previously, the DHS funding bill in the Senate included amendments that would halt the executive actions. With the fourth vote failing to receive the necessary 60 votes to move forward, McConnell separated the provisions on the DHS bill in a move that could help fund the department ahead of Friday's deadline. The DHS' current funding is set to expire on Feb. 27.
After the Senate failed to move forward with the DHS bill, McConnell said he will move forward with legislation that only addressed the immigration executive actions and not tied to fund the DHS.
"Some Democrats give the impression they want Congress to address the overreach. But when they vote, they always seem to have an excuse for supporting actions they once criticized," said McConnell on the Senate floor on Monday. "So I'm going to begin proceedings on targeted legislation that would only address the most recent overreach from November. It isn't tied to DHS' funding. It removes their excuse. This is our colleagues' chance to do exactly what they led their constituents to believe they'd do: defend the rule of law, without more excuses."
McConnell said he preferred to discuss the current DHS bill that includes the amendments to block Obama's November executive actions. He referred to the original DHS bill, which already passed the House as H.R. 240, as the "simplest and easiest way forward." McConnell said Democrats could include their own amendments to H.R. 240, but they need to move the bill forward to the Senate floor first.
"But as long as Democrats continue to prevent us from even doing that, the new bill I described offers another option we can turn to. It's another way to get the Senate unstuck from a Democrat filibuster and move the debate forward," continued McConnnell.
On Tuesday morning, McConnell reiterated the new bill to block Obama's executive actions is not associated with the DHS funding efforts.
"As I've said already, my preference remains with the legislation that's already passed the House. It's still the simplest way forward. But as long as Democrats continue to prevent us from even debating that bill, I'm ready to try another way," said McConnell. "I hope our friends across the aisle will demonstrate similar flexibility. I'm calling on Senators of good faith to work with us to move this bill forward as quickly as possible. Let's get to work."
Following the fourth failed vote, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Republicans are the blame for the DHS funding gridlock. He said, "It's becoming clear Sen. McConnell realizes he must separate himself from the far right, but the bottom line is this proposal doesn't bring us any closer to actually funding DHS, and Republicans still have no real plan to achieve that goal."
Schumer's blame on Republicans comes more than a week after Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Senate Democrats would receive the blame for the DHS funding failure. Boehner said the House "has done its job. We've spoken. If the Senate doesn't like it, they'll have to produce something that fits their institution."
As of Tuesday morning, Boehner has not commented on McConnell's new offer.
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