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 ReidNevada journalist: Harry Reid will play 'significant role' in Democratic primary The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - A crucial week on impeachment The Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached MORE (Nev.) on Tuesday had said Democrats would not support the new funding bill from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial McConnell: I doubt any GOP senator will vote to impeach Trump McConnell says he'll be in 'total coordination' with White House on impeachment trial strategy MORE (R-Ky.) until Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFormer Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock From learning on his feet to policy director 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 SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate confirms Trump's nominee to lead FDA CEO group pushes Trump, Congress on paid family, medical leave Krystal Ball: Is this how Bernie Sanders will break the establishment? 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 CornynOn The Money: Lawmakers strike spending deal | US, China reach limited trade deal ahead of tariff deadline | Lighthizer fails to quell GOP angst over new NAFTA Senate Republicans air complaints to Trump administration on trade deal Lighthizer fails to quell GOP angst on trade deal 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 DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenators zero in on shadowy court at center of IG report Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — House passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices | Senate confirms Trump FDA pick | Trump officials approve Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina 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 BoehnerFormer Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock From learning on his feet to policy director 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 group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' Trump takes pulse of GOP on Alabama Senate race The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Dems unveil impeachment measure; Vindman splits GOP 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 gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial McConnell: I doubt any GOP senator will vote to impeach Trump Democrats spend big to put Senate in play 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.