House GOP leader: Senate should change its rules to pass DHS funding

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on Sunday that the Senate should change its rules in order to pass a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).


"I think they should change the rule," McCarthy said on NBC's "Meet the Press," suggesting the Senate invoke the so-called "nuclear option" to allow spending bills to only require a simple majority to advance instead of 60 votes.

McCarthy's comments represent frustration among House Republicans who were forced to vote on a one-week bill funding DHS and put off debate over President Obama's executive action on immigration. Many conservatives have pushed for a plan to fund the agency while also rolling back Obama's action.

"I don't think going nuclear when you have 57 percent of the Senate [who] voted for the Collins amendment that would take away the president's action," McCarthy said on NBC, referencing a proposal from centrist Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Senate confirms controversial circuit court nominee Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families MORE (R-Maine) to allow Obama's 2012 executive action to stand but repeal his most recent moves.

Some House Republicans wanted to repeal his executive action from November deferring deportation for up to 5 million illegal immigrants and offering new work visas, but also attack his 2012 action to set up the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to harbor those who came to the U.S. as children.

"That's not nuclear when 57 percent of the Senate … says it's wrong. That's not in the Constitution. I think they should change the rule," McCarthy said.

McCarthy urged for the House and Senate to go to conference to reconcile differing GOP plans. The House easily passed a one-week DHS funding measure Friday with overwhelming Democratic support after failing to pass a three-week measure. The Senate passed a similar bill by voice vote and Obama signed the bill.

"I will tell you, as the majority leader in the House, I will be in that room and help solve that problem," McCarthy said Sunday, downplaying divisions between Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFrom learning on his feet to policy director Is Congress retrievable? Boehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush MORE (R-Ohio) and conservatives who railed against both House votes Friday.

"We have difference of opinion and strategy of tactics, but in principle we are united," McCarthy said.

"We took up legislation five weeks ago so we did not have a cliff. If there's somebody who's not being an adult, it's the Democrats," he added.

"The best thing that can happen is if we go to conference and settle our differences," he said.