Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDemocrats brace for tough election year in Nevada The Memo: Biden's horizon is clouded by doubt Fight over Biden agenda looms large over Virginia governor's race MORE (D-Nev.) on Thursday vowed to block any effort by House Republicans to amend a clean Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill.
Standing next to House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats step up pressure on Biden on student loan forgiveness Climate activists target Manchin Democrats face growing storm over IRS reporting provision MORE (D-Calif.) in a rare joint press conference, Reid blasted any plan by House Republicans to force negotiations over DHS funding as a “waste of time” and said Senate Democrats would block a conference committee to negotiate a final bill.
“We’ve heard all kinds of rumors that the House is going to take our fully funded bill and send it back with a number of riders on it. It is a waste of time. We will not allow a conference to take place," he said. "It won’t happen."
The Senate appears poised on Thursday to approve a bill that funds the DHS without addressing President Obama's immigration actions, but it is unclear whether the House will pick it up.
Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerRift widens between business groups and House GOP Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Debt ceiling games endanger US fiscal credibility — again MORE (R-Ohio), who spoke an hour after Reid, wouldn’t commit to bringing the Senate bill to the House floor.
Pelosi urged House Republicans to accept the clean bill and let the courts settle questions of constitutionality surrounding Obama’s actions shielding millions of illegal immigrants from deportation.
“The gamesmanship should end. The Texas case, the court — I disagree with the court decision — gave them a face-saving way to just end this,” she said.
She read off a list of statistics outlining the scope of the fallout if the DHS runs out of funding after midnight Friday.
She noted 170,000 DHS employees, primarily front-line security personnel, will have to come to work without pay. That number includes 40,000 border patrol personnel, 50,000 Transportation Security Administration workers, 13,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and 40,000 active-duty Coast Guard personnel.
House Republicans are mulling adding a rider to the Senate bill that would reverse the 2014 executive order protecting up to 5 million immigrants from deportation. They may also instead pass a short-term stopgap funding measure that would give them more time to formulate a response.
“If they send over a bill with all the riders in it, they’ve shut down the government. We’re not going to play games,” Reid said, adding that the Senate would debate legislation to halt Obama’s 2014 executive order after the DHS is funded.
“We’re not going to allow a conference to take place and if they want to debate immigration, when this is all over with, we’re happy to do it,” he said.
Pelosi said a Homeland Security shutdown will block $600 million for an urban security initiative and freeze Federal Emergency Management Agency grants.