GOP senators shoot down 'nuclear option' to move DHS funding bill

GOP senators shoot down 'nuclear option' to move DHS funding bill
© Greg Nash

Two GOP senators on Thursday shot down an idea floated by several House Republicans to change Senate rules in order to pass a bill that would fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and reverse President Obama’s immigration actions.

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“The answer is not to change Senate rules,” Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong This week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Week ahead: Senators work toward deal to fix ObamaCare markets MORE (R-Texas) said at a press conference held by House and Senate conservatives. “The answer is for Senate Democrats not to be obstructionists.”

Cruz said Democrats are acting “reckless and irresponsible” for refusing to move forward on the bill that would fund the DHS.

“I don’t think that’s an option we’re looking at right now,” freshman Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) added, saying that senators should move forward according to current rules.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C) had said earlier at the event that there’s a “way to change the rules to allow us to move forward” and “take away the ability to filibuster.”

Mulvaney’s remarks follow recent comments by Reps. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong GOP lawmaker pushes to end sports leagues' tax-exempt status Rep. Mo Brooks: We should end federal government support to NFL MORE (R-Ala.) and Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), who suggested that the Senate invoke the "nuclear option" and change its rules so that spending bills only need a simple majority to advance instead of 60 votes.

Senate Democrats have filibustered the House-passed DHS spending bill because Republicans can’t secure the 60 votes needed to open debate on the measure.

Sens. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsIntel leaders: Collusion still open part of investigation Republicans jockey for position on immigration Biden to Alabama: No more extremist senators MORE (R-Ala.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong How the effort to replace ObamaCare failed Overnight Regulation: Trump temporarily lifts Jones Act for Puerto Rico | Bill would exempt some banks from Dodd-Frank | Senators unveil driverless car bill MORE (R-Utah), Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGOP eyes limits on investor tax break Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Overnight Finance: White House requests B for disaster relief | Ex-Equifax chief grilled over stock sales | House panel approves B for border wall | Tax plan puts swing-state Republicans in tough spot MORE (R-Utah), Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThe Hill's Whip List: Republicans try again on ObamaCare repeal Another health funding cliff puts care for millions at risk Top Senate Dem: We're going forward with understanding we can work with White House on DACA MORE (R-Mo.), as well as Reps. Bill FloresBill FloresGun proposal picks up GOP support Gingrich: Banning rapid fire gun modification is ‘common sense’ GOP lawmaker to unveil bill banning gun bump stocks MORE (R-Texas), Robert AderholtRobert Brown AderholtTrump launches all-out assault on Mueller probe Republicans rally around Sessions after Trump criticism GOP leaders are unified: Firing Mueller a bad idea MORE (R-Ala.), John Carter (R-Texas) and Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnEquifax breach is the wake-up call we expected Tennessee governor considering Senate run Five major potential Senate candidates MORE (R-Tenn.) also attended the press conference.

“The way to change what they don’t like in the bill is to bring it up,” said Lee, who said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.) has allowed an open amendment process.

The Republicans accused several Senate Democrats who campaigned on opposing “executive amnesty” by Obama in last November’s elections of being "hypocritical."

“They don’t want to go on record; they want to hide from it,” Cruz said.

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner‘Lone wolf’ characterization of mass murderers is the epitome of white privilege Pelosi urges Ryan to create select committee on gun violence Ex-congressman Michael Grimm formally announces bid for old seat MORE (R-Ohio) repeated in an earlier press conference Thursday that the House had already done its job to fund the DHS and the ball is in the Senate’s court. McConnell on Tuesday, however, said it’s “obviously” up to the House to solve the impasse because the bill is “stuck” in the Senate.

Lawmakers are expected to leave Washington on Friday for a weeklong recess for Presidents Day.

Congress will have just a week left when lawmakers return before the Feb. 27 deadline to avert a shutdown at the department.