Senate Democrats have blocked a Republican bill that would fund the Department of Homeland Security. The Senate Democrats objected to a notion that would have eviscerated President Obama’s recent executive actions regarding immigration. A confrontation ensued over the Department of Homeland Security due to the fact that its funding will stop at the end of February.
The House of Representatives recently passed the bill that would have taken away the president’s action that ensures protection under the law for over five million illegal immigrants, even children. House Democrats stated the notion was intolerable and President Obama assured to veto any and all legislation that overturned his actions on immigration.
The 40 billion dollar showdown will undoubtedly be the first of many to come. Democrats used procedural moves to stifle votes just like the Republicans did when they occupied the minority. On Tuesday, Republicans chastised Democrats for the slim-margin vote – 51 to 48. This blocked the bill from being sent to the floor of the Senate.
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) stated that if Democrats are going to state that Republicans want to refuse to fund the Department of Homeland Security, they will have to be accountable for their decision to do so. However, Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) fervently stated that democracy does not work if the two parties do not debate.
Congressional Republicans have found themselves hurrying to locate the money to fund Homeland Security before February 27. However, they are having trouble deliberating with the more conservative members of Congress because they believe the president usurped his constitutional power while utilizing the resources of the Department of Homeland Security. Though, shutting down Homeland Security is not an option, according to Senator John McCain (R-AZ).
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Republican majority leader, is anticipated to attempt to bring the fiscal bill back to the hill for a second round vote. Though, it will most likely be with amendments that Senate Democrats will not tolerate.
Although there is much turmoil surrounding this bill, Republicans have yet to create an alternative option to fund Homeland Security. Though, there is word that a spending bill is in the making that could repeal the president’s executive immigration order, but would leave in place his 2012 legal protections for children that were brought here illegally by their undocumented immigrant parents. This plan has been proposed by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) with support from Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). Though, Senator Cruz stated that his first wish is for the House to pass legislation.
Senate Democrats have gestured that they will not support anything that does not only deal with the funding of the agency. If not, they will block any further attempts of legislation. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) emphatically stated that it is like haggling over the ransom from hostage takers.
Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the top Senate Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, went to the Senate floor to express her extreme dissatisfaction with the procedural maneuver to prevent the bill from coming to a vote. She called to the Republican side of the Senate to draft and support a “clean” funding bill. President Obama, along with Senate Democrats, has also called on Republicans to support a bill to fund Homeland Security.
President Obama stated the notion that Congress would risk efficacy of the Department of Homeland Security make no sense whatsoever – when it comes to controlling our border, preventing terrorism, and safeguarding the American people. Though, trouble will continue to unfold as Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) stated it is time for Senator Sessions and Senator Cruz and all Senate Democrats and Republicans to stand against the president to block his further actions to fund the Department of Homeland Security.
By: Alex Lemieux
Picture: Gage Skidmore – Flickr License