Monday, March 2, 2015

Senate Democrats Put DHS Funding Pressure Back On John Boehner

WASHINGTON -- House Republicans attempted last week to kick the issue of funding for the Department of Homeland Security over to the Senate. On Monday evening, Senate Democrats kicked it back, putting the heat on House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to avert a DHS shutdown. 

The Democrats blocked the Senate from going to conference to reconcile the differences between the House's and the Senate's DHS budget bills. The vote was 47 to 43, falling short of the 60 votes needed to move ahead.

The department's funding had been extended for one week last Friday and will now expire at the end of this week. The short-term measure was a gambit to keep DHS open as the chambers clashed on a way forward. 

But Senate Democrats said Monday that going to conference would just prolong the conflict by trying to turn the DHS funding bill into something that Democrats wouldn't approve and President Barack Obama wouldn't sign. Earlier in the day, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called the House's request to go to conference "the very definition of an exercise in futility." 

"Senate Democrats will not be a party to yet another Republican charade that will inevitably shut down the Department of Homeland Security and put our nation at risk," Reid said.

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