With the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) funding set to expire at midnight Friday, the U.S. Senate voted on an bipartisan effort to pass a "clean" bill for the department without amendments that would undo President Obama's executive actions on immigration reform. 

The Senate voted on H.R. 240, a House bill to fund the DHS. The bill, however, had amendments that would erase President Barack Obama's immigration executive actions. As a result of the amendments, Senate Democrats have blocked H.R. 240 from moving forward on four occasions. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., agreed to separate the amendments from H.R. 240, and it would be a standalone bill. With the amendments stripped, H.R. 240 does not include language to override the immigration executive actions and continue to fund the DHS.

With a 68-31 vote, the "clean" H.R. 240 bill passed the Senate.

"Our nation's security depends on the [DHS] being fully funded," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada. "The Senate has acted responsibly to pass a bipartisan bill fully funding Homeland Security for the rest of the year. If this bill was given a vote in the House, it would pass on a strong bipartisan vote. The Senate has acted on a bipartisan basis. It is now up to the House to do the same. House Republicans should stop kicking the can down the road and take up the Senate's bipartisan, yearlong funding bill immediately."

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said he was glad Republicans did not "jeopardize" U.S. national security and were able to pass the funding bill. He continued, "While anti-immigrant elements of the Republican Party are free to continue hyperventilating over the President's legal actions to temporarily fix our immigration system, today's overwhelming bipartisan vote proves the radical Republican strategy of 'deport DREAMers or shutdown homeland security' was a failure from the beginning."

The separated amendments were voted on ahead of the anti-immigration executive action vote, McConnell said, and the vote would allow Democrats who have previously spoken about their concerns with Obama enacting the executive actions "to show they were at least a little bit serious."

While addressing the Senate floor, McConnell said, "Remember: President Obama said more than 20 times he couldn't take those kinds of actions. He even referred to overreach like that as 'ignoring the law.' So Sen. [Susan] Collins' measure simply takes the President at his word, and helps him follow the law instead of ignoring it... But [Democrats] can help us pass a sensible bill from Senator Collins that would hold the executive branch to account. After so many weeks of senseless filibustering, that's the least these Democrats owe their constituents."

The bill to defeat Obama's immigration executive actions was blocked by Senate Democrats with a 57-42 vote. The legislation is expected to be reintroduced on another date. Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota voted with the Republican majority.

After the vote, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said it was "unfortunate" for Senate Democrats to vote with the Democratic Party's leadership "instead of the American people who overwhelmingly oppose the President's unconstitutional executive actions that have been blocked by a Federal District Court."

Cornyn is referring to Judge Andrew Hanen from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas' Brownsville Division. Hanen issued a temporary injunction on Obama's two deferred action programs from implementation. The White House plans to issue an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

"We will continue to fight to stop the President's illegal, unilateral changes to immigration policy, standing with the American people and fighting for the Rule of Law in the face of the President's lawlessness," continued Cornyn.

H.R. 240 will return to the House for another vote since the immigration executive actions language was removed from the bill.


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