With Democrats blocking a Republican plan to block funding for the President’s executive actions on immigration, lawmakers go home for a President’s Day break no closer to an agreement to fund the Department of Homeland Security, with a February 27 deadline staring them in the eye.
“I’m not surprised,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), who joined with other Democrats to point the finger of blame at the GOP.
“This is the same people that shut the government down a year ago in order to score political points,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
But on the other side, Republicans said it was the Democrats who were the bad guys, noting their filibuster of the funding bill that also would block the implementation of the President’s executive actions on immigration.
“They can vote up or down,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-OH). “At some point we have to put it on the floor and actually debate it.”
Not only have Democrats been blocking action on the House-passed bill, but their moves have prevented any official debate or amendments from being offered.
Democrats say the GOP should just relent and approve a bill without the immigration riders; Republicans say that’s not an option.
Republican versus Republican
Also swirling around in this same debate were a few verbal jabs among GOP lawmakers, as Republicans in the House vented even more frustration at their colleagues in the Senate, saying it’s time to change he rules of the Senate in order to turn aside the filibuster by Democrats.
“Mitch McConnell can change the rules of the Senate,” said Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), “and this is important enough for Mitch McConnell to change the rules of the Senate.”
That idea landed like a giant lead weight over on the Senate side of the Capitol.
“That is not an option,” said Sen. Lankford bluntly, who served with Labrador in the House.
“It’s one thing to change the filibuster on nominations, it’s another thing to change it on legislation,” Lankford said.
Lawmakers return to work on February 23. The deadline for action is February 27.
If all the back and forth is any indication, it could be a very heated week in the Congress at the end of this month.