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Senate Dems back 'clean' DHS bill

Senate Democrats have agreed to support a “clean” bill funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the clock ticks down to a partial government shutdown on Saturday.

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 (Nev.) on Tuesday had said Democrats would not support the new funding bill from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhen it comes to Georgia's voting law, keep politics out of business Pelosi to offer even split on 9/11-style commission to probe Capitol riot Senate GOP crafts outlines for infrastructure counter proposal MORE (R-Ky.) until Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerCantor: 'Level of craziness' in Washington has increased 'on both sides' Cheney on Trump going to GOP retreat in Florida: 'I haven't invited him' Republicans race for distance from 'America First Caucus' MORE (R-Ohio) endorsed it.

But with a shutdown of DHS looming on Friday at midnight, Democrats now say they will back McConnell’s move to separate the funding from provisions that would roll back President Obama’s executive action on immigration.

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“We have a pathway to vote on this tomorrow," Reid said at a press conference. "We're glad to see that that's happened. We're going to do everything we can to make sure it passes by an overwhelming vote."

Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOn The Money: Yellen touts 'whole-of-economy' plan to fight climate change | Senate GOP adopts symbolic earmark ban, digs in on debt limit Hillicon Valley: Tech companies duke it out at Senate hearing | Seven House Republicans vow to reject donations from Big Tech Lawmakers reintroduce bill to invest billions to compete with China in tech MORE (D-N.Y.) said Democrats had been holding back support until they knew the detail of McConnell’s plan.

“Once we saw McConnell’s offer did not have tricks, we’re game,” Schumer said.

Democrats hope the final vote on the bill comes Thursday, but Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynCornyn, Sinema to introduce bill aimed at addressing border surge Bipartisan group of senators holds immigration talks amid border surge House votes to extend ban on fentanyl-like substances MORE (R-Texas) told reporters that the vote would have to happen Sunday unless there's unanimous consent.

The Senate will vote Wednesday afternoon, McConnell’s spokesman said, on a motion to invoke cloture on the "clean" bill. The vote could be sped up if GOP leaders get unanimous consent from senators to yield back any of the 30 hours of debate.

Senate Minority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinCornyn, Sinema to introduce bill aimed at addressing border surge Harris casts tiebreaking vote to advance Biden nominee Bipartisan group of senators holds immigration talks amid border surge MORE (D-Ill.) said the bill coming up for a vote is the House-passed DHS bill that they have been blocking for weeks. But under a procedural maneuver, the immigration provisions that they object to will automatically be stripped out.

“We’re going to give [McConnell] the votes to move forward because he said he’ll give us a clean bill,” Durbin said.

Reid said he has already spoken to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) about the plan.

“Right now it's no secret the Republicans in the House don't know what they're going to do,” Reid said. “All eyes now shift to the House of Representatives.”

Following a closed-door House GOP conference meeting Wednesday morning, BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerCantor: 'Level of craziness' in Washington has increased 'on both sides' Cheney on Trump going to GOP retreat in Florida: 'I haven't invited him' Republicans race for distance from 'America First Caucus' MORE said the House is waiting to see what happens in the Senate before determining its next steps on DHS funding.

“Until the Senate does something, we're in a wait-and-see mode,” Boehner said.

Some House conservatives are urging Boehner to stand firm on linking Obama’s immigration actions to DHS funding, and it’s unclear how much support a “clean bill” would have in the House.

Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksConservative House members call on Senate to oppose ATF nominee House rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults can get vaccine; decision Friday on J&J vax MORE (R-Ala.) said “there’s no way on God’s green earth” he would vote for a funding bill that didn’t defund Obama’s actions, and several other lawmakers are taking a similar line.

The DHS funding bill passed by the House last month would defund Obama’s executive actions from 2012 and 2014, halting deportation deferrals and work visas for millions of illegal immigrants.

Senate Democrats refused to allow that bill to come up for debate in the upper chamber, blocking it four separate times.

McConnell blasted Democrats for holding up the bill, and on Wednesday warned that the “time for refusal has past.”

While McConnell has split the immigration fight from the funding bill, he plans to bring up a proposal floated by Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate locks in hate crimes deal, setting up Thursday passage Bipartisan group of senators holds immigration talks amid border surge Senate GOP keeps symbolic earmark ban MORE (R-Maine) that would defund Obama’s immigration orders from November, but protect the 2012 action that defers deportations for some illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children.

Senate Democrats have made clear they would block the Collins amendment until the House and Senate both pass a DHS funding bill.

“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,” Schumer said.

— Updated at 4:59 p.m.