GOP senators shoot down 'nuclear option' to move DHS funding bill

GOP senators shoot down 'nuclear option' to move DHS funding bill
© Greg Nash

Two GOP senators on Thursday shot down an idea floated by several House Republicans to change Senate rules in order to pass a bill that would fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and reverse President Obama’s immigration actions.

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“The answer is not to change Senate rules,” Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz Hickenlooper, Bennet bring deep ties to 2020 debate stage 2020 Democrat Bennet releases comprehensive government reform plan GOP frets about Trump's poll numbers MORE (R-Texas) said at a press conference held by House and Senate conservatives. “The answer is for Senate Democrats not to be obstructionists.”

Cruz said Democrats are acting “reckless and irresponsible” for refusing to move forward on the bill that would fund the DHS.

“I don’t think that’s an option we’re looking at right now,” freshman Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) added, saying that senators should move forward according to current rules.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C) had said earlier at the event that there’s a “way to change the rules to allow us to move forward” and “take away the ability to filibuster.”

Mulvaney’s remarks follow recent comments by Reps. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson Brooks58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill GOP candidate expects Roy Moore to announce Senate bid in June GOP leaders dead set against Roy Moore in Alabama MORE (R-Ala.) and Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), who suggested that the Senate invoke the "nuclear option" and change its rules so that spending bills only need a simple majority to advance instead of 60 votes.

Senate Democrats have filibustered the House-passed DHS spending bill because Republicans can’t secure the 60 votes needed to open debate on the measure.

Sens. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump: Appointing Sessions was my biggest mistake Nikki Haley blasts Roy Moore's Senate bid: 'He does not represent our Republican Party' Time magazine: Trump threatened reporter with prison time MORE (R-Ala.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense: Officials brief Congress after Iran shoots down drone | Lawmakers fear 'grave situation' | Trump warns Iran | Senate votes to block Saudi arms sales | Bombshell confession at Navy SEAL's murder trial The 7 GOP senators who voted to block all or part of Trump's Saudi arms sale Senate votes to block Trump's Saudi arms sale MORE (R-Utah), Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (R-Utah), Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThis week: Congress set for clash on Trump's border request GOP senators divided over approach to election security The Hill's Morning Report — US strikes approved against Iran pulled back MORE (R-Mo.), as well as Reps. Bill FloresWilliam (Bill) Hose FloresOvernight Energy: GOP lawmaker parodies Green New Deal in new bill | House Republicans accuse Dems of ramming through climate bill | Park Service chief grilled over shutdown House Republicans accuse Dems of ramming through climate bill Seven Republicans vote against naming post office after ex-Rep. Louise Slaughter MORE (R-Texas), Robert AderholtRobert Brown AderholtHouse advances B agriculture bill Dems advance bill defying Trump State Department cuts Maryland raises legal tobacco purchasing age to 21 MORE (R-Ala.), John Carter (R-Texas) and Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnHorse abuse for ribbons and prizes has to stop YouTube may move children's content to separate app Democrats detail new strategy to pressure McConnell on election security bills MORE (R-Tenn.) also attended the press conference.

“The way to change what they don’t like in the bill is to bring it up,” said Lee, who said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden, Eastland and rejecting the cult of civility California governor predicts 'xenophobic' GOP will likely be third party in 15 years This week: Congress set for clash on Trump's border request MORE (R-Ky.) has allowed an open amendment process.

The Republicans accused several Senate Democrats who campaigned on opposing “executive amnesty” by Obama in last November’s elections of being "hypocritical."

“They don’t want to go on record; they want to hide from it,” Cruz said.

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerTed Cruz, AOC have it right on banning former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists Rep. Amash stokes talk of campaign against Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Biden go toe-to-toe in Iowa MORE (R-Ohio) repeated in an earlier press conference Thursday that the House had already done its job to fund the DHS and the ball is in the Senate’s court. McConnell on Tuesday, however, said it’s “obviously” up to the House to solve the impasse because the bill is “stuck” in the Senate.

Lawmakers are expected to leave Washington on Friday for a weeklong recess for Presidents Day.

Congress will have just a week left when lawmakers return before the Feb. 27 deadline to avert a shutdown at the department.