Senate sets up first vote on House DHS bill

The Senate will hold a procedural vote Tuesday afternoon on a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and roll back President Obama’s immigration actions, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellConservative groups press Senate on ObamaCare repeal Week ahead: Trump budget coming Tuesday | CBO to unveil health bill score | House hearing on border tax Week ahead: EPA braces for Trump budget MORE (R-Ky.) said Friday.  

Scheduled for 2:30 p.m., it will be the first of several votes next week before the upper chamber can proceed to the final vote on the bill, which the House passed earlier this month.

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Senate Democrats are expected to oppose the motion. A number of senators, including Republicans, have said for weeks the measure is almost certainly doomed because it can’t receive the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.

Meanwhile, President Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Senate Democrats have engaged in a full-throttle campaign to pressure Republicans to drop the bill and pass a clean DHS funding bill instead.

The clock is now ticking — Congress must pass a new spending bill for the DHS by Feb. 27 or the department will shut down.

On the Senate floor Thursday, Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiBipartisan friendship is a civil solution to political dysfunction Dems press for paycheck fairness bill on Equal Pay Day After 30 years celebrating women’s history, have we made enough progress? MORE (D-Md.), the ranking member on the Appropriations Committee, said the GOP should stop its “tamper-tantrum politics” and pass a bill that excludes immigration riders.

“What will slow us down is if we get into an intense debate on immigration and riders that try to stop the activities of President Obama,” she said. “I would strongly recommend to my colleagues: Do not play politics with the security with the United States of America.”

Three former DHS secretaries, including two who served under former President George W. Bush — Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff — wrote to McConnell and Reid this week urging the Senate to decouple the immigration amendments from the measure. 

Mikulski and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenMcConnell promises women can take part in healthcare meetings Kelly Ayotte among candidates to be FBI director: report Senate Dems want information on Comey funding requests MORE (D-N.H.), the ranking member on the Appropriations subcommittee on Homeland Security, filed a new DHS spending bill that’s free of the immigration amendments and is based on a bipartisan, bicameral agreement from December.