The stalemate over funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was broken Wednesday as the Senate voted 98-2 to proceed to legislation that would prevent a partial government shutdown.

Democrats agreed to support the DHS bill after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP acknowledges struggle to bring down Biden Pew poll: 50 percent approve of Democrats in Congress Pelosi on power in DC: 'You have to seize it' MORE (R-Ky.) stripped out provisions inserted by the House that would reverse President Obama's executive actions on immigration. 

The only votes against proceeding to the bill came from Sens. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - US vaccine effort takes hit with Johnson & Johnson pause Biden sparks bipartisan backlash on Afghanistan withdrawal  Biden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike MORE (R-Okla.) and Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsGarland rescinds Trump-era memo curtailing consent decrees Biden picks vocal Trump critics to lead immigration agencies The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings MORE (R-Ala.).

ADVERTISEMENT

"Democrats will support getting on the House Homeland Security funding bill. In exchange, the leader will provide the only amendment, [it] will be a clean Homeland Security funding substitute," Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Biden to tap Erika Moritsugu as new Asian American and Pacific Islander liaison White House races clock to beat GOP attacks MORE (D-Nev.) said. 

Democrats had blocked the bill four times before. With a shutdown of DHS set to begin on Saturday, McConnell on Tuesday agreed to split the funding and immigration fights, as Democrats have long demanded.

Reid said earlier Wednesday that the Senate could take a final vote on the DHS bill Thursday. 

"We look forward to working with our Republican colleagues in the next 24 hours to get this done. All eyes now shift to the House of Representatives," Reid said.

If the Senate passes the funding bill, as expected, it would head back to the House, where its fate is unclear.

ADVERTISEMENT

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerSunday shows preview: Russia, US exchange sanctions; tensions over policing rise; vaccination campaign continues The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Biden to Putin: Tough sanctions, straight talk Boehner on Afghanistan: 'It's time to pull out the troops' MORE (R-Ohio) was silent Wednesday on the "clean" funding plan and said the House would wait for the Senate to act.

“Until the Senate does something, we're in a wait-and-see mode,” BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerSunday shows preview: Russia, US exchange sanctions; tensions over policing rise; vaccination campaign continues The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Biden to Putin: Tough sanctions, straight talk Boehner on Afghanistan: 'It's time to pull out the troops' MORE said.

Several conservative Republicans have criticized the "clean" plan, with many vowing they will not vote to fund agencies that would be carrying out Obama’s immigration order.

McConnell said separating the two proposals would give Democrats who have previously criticized Obama's immigration action a chance to "prove they're serious."

“Many Senate Democrats led their constituents to believe they’d do something. … We’ve since heard excuses for the Democrats' refusal to do so,” McConnell said. “But the time for refusal has passed.”

Senate Republicans plan to bring up a separate bill that would block Obama's 2014 executive action, which would provide deferred deportations and work visas to millions of illegal immigrants.

Senate Democrats have made clear they would block motions to move to debate on that proposal, put forward by Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsModerates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate confirms Mallory to lead White House environment council | US emissions dropped 1.7 percent in 2019 | Interior further delays Trump rule that would make drillers pay less to feds Anti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle MORE (R-Maine), until the House and Senate both pass funding for Homeland Security.

“We’re happy to debate it. We won’t put procedural barriers in the way of debating it once a fully funded DHS bill is on the president’s desk to be signed. That is our view,” Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPew poll: 50 percent approve of Democrats in Congress Former state Rep. Vernon Jones launches challenge to Kemp in Georgia Schumer lays groundwork for future filibuster reform MORE (D-N.Y.), the third-ranking Senate Democrat, told reporters Wednesday.

— Last updated at 4:45 p.m.