House Releases Hostage, Approves Funding For DHS Without Immigration
WASHINGTON -- The grudge match between Republicans and Democrats over the president's immigration policies and funding the Department of Homeland Security ended Tuesday -- with a win for Democrats.
House Republicans approved $39.7 billion in funding for DHS without any measures to block President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration, which could allow as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the country and work for three years.
The vote was 257 to 167, with most Republicans voting against the bill.
It was the end of a months-long fight, and a loss for the conservative members who vowed to do anything -- even shut down DHS -- to block Obama's immigration policies. Instead, the House ultimately settled for what many observers predicted was the only realistic solution all along: a "clean" DHS funding bill without the sure-to-be-vetoed provisions to block not only the president's most recent actions, but also previous deportation relief policies and long-standing prioritization on deportations.
But conservatives didn't go down without a fight. Congress took DHS to the brink of a shutdown last Friday, when the Senate passed a clean DHS bill and the House declined to take it up. The first alternative, a three-week continuing resolution, was rejected as well after 52 conservatives broke ranks to vote with Democrats against it. With hours to go before a shutdown, the House voted for funding for one week.
But Senate Republicans had already thrown in the towel by allowing the clean DHS bill to pass, and Democrats put the final nail in the coffin Monday by blocking a House request to go to conference on the legislation. On Tuesday morning, Boehner told Republican members in a closed-door meeting that it was over, according to a source who attended.