Forty-five senators ask McConnell to pass 'clean' Homeland funding bill

Forty-five senators, mostly Democrats, are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers outline proposals for virtual voting Overnight Health Care: Trump calls report on hospital shortages 'another fake dossier' | Trump weighs freezing funding to WHO | NY sees another 731 deaths | States battle for supplies | McConnell, Schumer headed for clash Phase-four virus relief hits a wall MORE (R-Ky.) to bring a clean Homeland Security spending bill to the floor immediately.

“We write with one simple request: work with us to pass a clean bill that funds Homeland Security for the remainder of the fiscal year,” said a letter on Tuesday, spearheaded by Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiLobbying World Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Raskin embraces role as constitutional scholar MORE (D-Md.).

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“The House bill cannot pass the Senate,” it added, referring to the measure the House passed nearly two weeks ago. 

The GOP-led House managed to attach amendments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spending bill that would roll back President Obama’s immigration actions. Since that vote, a number of senators have said they doubt that bill would get the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster. Obama has also promised he would veto legislation that undo his policies.

In the letter to McConnell, Democrats argued that recent terrorist attacks and the growing threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) shows why Congress must provide new funding through September to DHS.

“In light of recent events in Paris, Ottawa and Australia, the threat of ISIS and the proliferation of foreign fighters that return home radicalized, DHS funding should not be tied to divisive political issues that could jeopardize this critical funding,” it said. 

If Congress doesn’t pass a new spending bill by Feb. 27, and only approves a continuing resolution using funding levels from 2014, the Democrats said it would limit the government’s counterterrorism efforts, border security initiatives and aviation security.

On Tuesday afternoon, however, McConnell told reporters that the Senate would consider the House-passed bill once they finish up a vote on the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline next week.

The letter was signed by the two independents who caucus with Democrats: Sens. Angus KingAngus KingTrump takes heat for firing intel watchdog during pandemic We weren't ready for a pandemic — imagine a crippling cyberattack Senators offer bill to extend tax filing deadline MORE (Maine) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersDrugmaker caps insulin costs at to help diabetes patients during pandemic The Hill's Campaign Report: Wisconsin votes despite coronavirus pandemic Sen. Brown endorses Biden for president MORE (Vt.). Nearly all Senate Democrats signed the letter, too, except for Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Memo: Political trench warfare colors views on coronavirus GOP embraces big stimulus after years of decrying it Five Latinas who could be Biden's running mate MORE (D-Nev.) who had to undergo surgery on Monday to repair broken bones in his face after a recent exercise accident.