Why the DHS Funding Bill Is Going Nowhere (For Now)

Senate Democrats and Republicans at odds over immigration provisions in bill

ByABC News
February 5, 2015, 2:57 PM
FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2014, cyclists ride on Capitol Hill in Washington.
FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2014, cyclists ride on Capitol Hill in Washington.
J. Scott Applewhite, File / AP Photo

— -- There are only three weeks left before funding for the Department of Homeland Security expires, but the measure is at a standstill in the Senate as Democrats and Republicans are at odds over immigration provisions included in the bill.

For the third time this week, Senate Democrats blocked Republican efforts to move forward with a House-approved bill which would provide $40 billion in funding for DHS through September while simultaneously undoing President Obama’s recent immigration executive actions.

The Senate voted 52-47 on a procedural vote on the bill, falling eight votes short of the 60 needed to move forward. Senate Democrats object to the measure because they want their Republican colleagues to pass a clean funding bill without any immigration provisions attached.

"It appears the Republican Senate is more afraid of DREAMers than they are of ISIL,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor today.

All eyes are now on whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will bring up the vote for Round 4 or come up with an alternative to the current measure. A few Republicans have started to voice frustration with the tactic of holding vote after vote on the same procedural measure when Senate Democrats don’t look like they’ll budge.

"Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Voting for the same bill over and over again,” Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said Wednesday, according to the New York Times.

"I think three is enough," Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, told National Journal. "There is going to be an effort to keep bringing it up and keep the issue alive, and as you know there is division within the conference on this."

House Speaker John Boehner seems unwilling to consider further legislation until the Senate sends a bill back to the lower chamber.

“The House did its work. We won this fight,” Boehner said. “Now it's time for Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats to come together and to hold the president accountable.”

Boehner said he has not coordinated an endgame with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the event that a stalemate persists until the deadline.

“Listen, he's got a tough job. He's got a tough job over there, I've got a tough job over here. God bless him and good luck,” Boehner said.