Boehner stays silent on DHS bill

Boehner stays silent on DHS bill
© Greg Nash

He recited a rhyme, blew kisses at a reporter and told another to get a haircut.

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLongtime House parliamentarian to step down Five things we learned from this year's primaries Bad blood between Pelosi, Meadows complicates coronavirus talks MORE (R-Ohio) did everything Thursday but say how the House would react to a clean funding bill to avert a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shutdown.

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The stakes are serious: The sprawling security agency will partially shut down in less than 48 hours. But BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLongtime House parliamentarian to step down Five things we learned from this year's primaries Bad blood between Pelosi, Meadows complicates coronavirus talks MORE was in a light-hearted, playful mood as he fielded questions from reporters Thursday about how his chamber would respond to the DHS bill the Senate is poised to pass that doesn't address President Obama immigration actions.

When NBC’s Luke Russert asked Boehner if the country would be less safe if the DHS shut down, the Speaker replied with one of his favorite rhymes.

“If ands and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas,” he said. “We passed a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security six weeks ago.” That bill would undo Obama's orders.

Another reporter, Public Radio International's Todd Zwillich, pressed him further on possible solutions. Boehner responded in kind by pouting his lips and blowing a series of kisses. Some reporters expressed confusion by his actions, so he clarified: “That’s just a kiss.”

“Several,” a reporter chimed in.

Democrats quickly fired off a press release with the subject line: "Speaker Boehner Kisses Off Imminent Homeland Security Shutdown Impact."

The DHS’s funding runs out at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. But Boehner wouldn’t say whether the House would pass a short-term funding bill, known as a continuing resolution, to stave off a shutdown or try to attach amendments to the Senate bill aimed at gutting Obama’s immigration policies.

The House’s game plan will be revealed once the Senate passes its bill, he said.

“The House passed a bill six weeks ago. It’s time for the Senate to do its work.”

Across the Capitol, Democrats also were having a bit of fun — even with the shutdown clock ticking.

At a news conference in the Senate, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) threw on sunglasses in solidarity with Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSenate Republicans signal openness to working with Biden Mellman: The likely voter sham Bottom line MORE (D-Nev.), who recently underwent eye surgery. But Reid was sporting clear glasses on this particular day.

“I brought my glasses to be with Harry, but he switched on me,” Pelosi said.

“I tricked her,” Reid quipped.