House

House conservative: Republican senator has ‘no credibility’ on DHS

Greg Nash

A leading House conservative on Thursday said Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) has “no credibility,” when it comes to the fight over funding the Department of Homeland Security and revoking President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

Kirk, a centrist who is up for reelection in 2016, this week called for Congress to pass a “clean” funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that doesn’t freeze the president’s unilateral actions to delay deportations of illegal immigrants.

Asked to respond to Kirk’s comments, Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) said the senator should come up with another plan for taking on Obama.

“Did he tell you how he was going to deal with the immigration issue separately?” Labrador asked.

The reporter shook her head no.

“Then he has no credibility,” Labrador replied.

{mosads}”If he came up with a plan, I’m open to any ideas. If any senator has a better idea on how to deal with this immigration plan, I think any of us would be willing to listen,” Labrador said an event held with the Heritage Foundation.

Labrador stressed that Republicans should challenge President Obama’s immigration actions sooner rather than later.

“That’s the problem here in Washington, D.C. The strategy is always, ‘Let’s wait ’til the next fight,’ ” he said.

Kirk’s office pushed back on the criticism, arguing that DHS funding shouldn’t be at risk.

“The senator has been an independent voice that has put both parties on notice in this debate as he believes Congress should not risk the viability of our first responders, particularly after the devastating and recent attack in Paris. Senator Kirk will continue to support funding our homeland security as well as advocate for bipartisan immigration reform,” a Kirk spokeswoman said.

The slam against Kirk points to the growing tensions between House and Senate Republicans over the DHS fight.

With Senate Democrats filibustering legislation that reverses Obama’s executive actions, conservatives, such as Labrador, are calling for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to change the upper chamber’s rules so that spending bills can be moved with a simple majority.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) pushed back on that idea Thursday, saying the only way to end the DHS impasse is for Democrats to back down.

“The answer is not to change Senate rules,” he said. “The answer is for Senate Democrat not to be obstructionists.”

Funding for the DHS expires on Feb. 27. If legislation is not passed by then, the agency will begin a partial shutdown, with some employees forced to work without pay.

Updated at 4:11 p.m.

Tags Mark Kirk Mitch McConnell Ted Cruz
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