Finance

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.

{mosads}“The answer is not to change Senate rules,” Sen. Ted Cruz (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 Brooks (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 Sessions (R-Ala.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), as well as Reps. Bill Flores (R-Texas), Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), John Carter (R-Texas) and Marsha Blackburn (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 McConnell (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 Boehner (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.

Tags Bill Flores Boehner Jeff Sessions John Boehner Marsha Blackburn Mike Lee Mitch McConnell Mo Brooks Orrin Hatch Robert Aderholt Roy Blunt Ted Cruz
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