The House on Thursday adopted a proposal to bolster an investigation into the Department of Homeland Security's release of illegal immigrants known to have committed crimes.
Passed 218-193, Rep. Steve King's (R-Iowa) amendment to the 2015 appropriations bill funding the Justice Department, Commerce Department and science programs would direct $5 million toward an investigation.
"So my request is that $5 million out of this administrative budget be directed to investigating the actions of the Department of Homeland Security and coming back with an analysis of what is going on and why that we have so many criminals released onto the streets of America," King said, citing statistics that nearly 900,000 illegal immigrants pending deportation had been released, including more than 36,000 criminals.
Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice and Science subcommittee, said the House should instead consider comprehensive immigration reform.
"The people's House should vote on this matter so that we can come to some conclusion on these issues," Fattah said.
Fattah further argued that the appropriations measure was not an appropriate place to craft immigration policy.
"This is an appropriations bill. We are not in the business of immigration reform on this bill. We are just trying to run the bare bones of the United States government," Fattah said. "I hope one day we will come back to this issue appropriately."
Democrats have painted King as the face of obstruction on immigration reform in recent weeks.
The House debated King's amendment shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday night for six minutes. A recorded vote was postponed until Thursday afternoon.