WASHINGTON (AP) – The pressure is increasing on House Republicans after the party’s Senate leaders agreed to Democratic demands and announced legislation to fund Department of Homeland Security without contentious immigration provisions opposed by President Barack Obama. The House of Representatives has passed a Homeland Security funding bill that includes the repeal of immigration policies Obama put into effect in 2012 and last fall. But in the Senate, Republicans lack the 60 votes needed to overcome blocking actions by minority Democrats.
Spending for the Homeland Security Department expires Friday at midnight if Congress doesn’t act before then. However, any shutdown would only be partial. Of the department’s 230,000 employees, some 200,000 would continue to report to work because they are deemed essential for the protection of human life and property, but would not receive their paychecks. That includes workers at airport security checkpoints, front-line workers at Customs and Border Patrol, the Coast Guard and the Secret Service, which protects the president and other dignitaries.
House Republicans scheduled a closed-door caucus meeting for Wednesday morning, their first since returning from a weeklong congressional recess.
Several Republican lawmakers insisted they could not accept the two-part strategy proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: a vote on legislation to fund the Homeland Security Department, and a separate vote to overturn Obama’s recent executive actions sparing millions of immigrants in the US illegally from deportation.