Senate Democrats for the second day in a row have blocked a Homeland Security funding bill that would roll back President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
A motion to begin debate on the measure failed 53-47 on Wednesday, with all Democrats voting against it, along with Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Democrat Jacky Rosen becomes 22nd senator to back bipartisan infrastructure deal 9 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 MORE (R-Nev.). Sixty votes were needed to take up the bill.
The motion to proceed on the same bill also failed on Tuesday afternoon in a 51-48 vote.
McConnell blasted Democrats for holding up the legislation, accusing them of knee-jerk obstructionism.
“Today’s Democrat Party seems willing to go to any extreme to protect the kind of executive overreach President Obama once described as ‘not how our democracy functions’ — even to block Homeland Security funding to get its way,” McConnell said.
The GOP leader quoted several Democrats who had expressed opposition to Obama acting unilaterally on immigration, which he did in December by creating a new program that could provide work permits to an estimated 5 million illegal immigrants.
The DHS funding bill, which passed the House last month, would also halt a program Obama created in 2012 that defers deportations for some illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children.
With Democrats united against the bill, and conservatives in the House pushing for the Senate to hold the line, Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsWelcome to ground zero of climate chaos A tale of two chambers: Trump's power holds in House, wanes in Senate Bipartisan blip: Infrastructure deal is last of its kind without systemic change MORE (R-Maine) on Wednesday floated a compromise that would split the difference between the two sides.
She filed an amendment that would allow Obama’s 2012 executive action creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to continue, while reversing the immigration orders Obama unveiled in November.
Collins said she hoped to find Democratic co-sponsors but has yet to speak to any potential supporters.
“I filed my amendment to show that I’m committed to bringing up an alternative to the bill. My hope is that the Democrats will look at that and perhaps some of them, a few of them, will reach a different conclusion,” she said of the Democratic filibuster blocking debate.
Congress must pass a new spending bill for Homeland Security by Feb. 27 or the department will shut down.
The White House has warned a partial shutdown of DHS would put national security at risk and force 150,000 federal workers to go without paychecks.
— Alexander Bolton contributed.