The House began two hours of debate on a bill Tuesday to fund the Department of Homeland Security through September that Republicans are using as a vehicle to defund President Obama's executive action on immigration.
An hour's worth of debate on five amendments will commence Wednesday morning. Votes on amendments and final passage are expected no later than noon.
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, warned that the legislation wouldn't be able to pass in the Senate.
"We all know the outcome of this very dangerous game. The legislation in this form will not be enacted," Lowey said.
Lowey accused Republicans of tempting another government shutdown despite bipartisan compromises for the underlying spending bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
"It's taken less than two weeks for the Republican Congress to prove that it cannot govern responsibly," Lowey said.
But Republicans said the legislation was an opportunity to limit what they view as executive overreach from President Obama.
"The Constitution is not a mere suggestion whether the other sides likes it or not. And that's just the way it is," said Rep. Ted PoeTed PoeOvernight Healthcare: Ryan visits White House amid healthcare rubble GOP's impatience with Freedom Caucus boils over Poe: Some Freedom Caucus members would vote against Ten Commandments MORE (R-Texas).
Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) said the two-day debate would be remembered as "two of the saddest days in this House."
"This is one of those moments where the best you can do is scrath your head and say, what the heck are they thinking?" Serrano said.
Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) said the president's executive action set a dangerous precedent.
"Granting amnesty through unilateral executive action makes a mockery of our laws. And Congress must rein it in," Babin said.
Around a dozen centrist House Republicans with large minority populations in their districts may vote against one or more of the amendments. Eleven Republicans voted against a bill in August to limit the DACA program, ten of whom are still members of the House. At least one GOP freshman who has expressed support for immigration reform, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), may also defect.