With funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) set to expire at midnight Friday, House and Senate lawmakers have spent this week scrambling to find a workable full-year funding solution that averts a partial government shutdown.
Unable to devise a full-year spending bill that reverses the president’s executive order on immigration, Republican lawmakers have pivoted their strategy to a clean short-term continuing resolution that would fund the Department through March 19.
After four failed attempts to gain cloture in the Senate on the House-passed DHS spending bill (H.R. 240), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agreed Tuesday to split the funding and immigration issues into two separate bills. By Wednesday, the legislative impasse in the Senate was cleared when it voted 98 to 2 to move forward with consideration of the DHS funding bill, absent the immigration policy riders.
Late Thursday, House GOP leadership had gathered its members to gauge their willingness to pass a three-week funding patch and go to conference with the Senate on a full-year funding bill.
On Friday, the Senate resumes consideration of the DHS spending legislation and anticipates passing a clean spending bill without facing any major obstacles. In the House, members will vote on a three-week continuing resolution (H.J.Res. 35) and may vote to go to conference with the Senate. Should the Senate also pass H.J.Res. 35 on Friday, Congress will have extended DHS’ funding for three weeks in the hopes of giving congressional Republicans more time to reach an agreement.