After Shutdown Drama, Congress Extends DHS Funding

On March 4, President Obama signed legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security for the remainder of the fiscal year ending September 30. The legislation had previously passed the Senate (on February 27) and the House followed on March 3rd—but only, after weeks of chaotic brinksmanship during which the most conservative members of the Republican caucus demanded that DHS not be funded until President Obama’s executive action on immigration was overturned.

Technically, the House voted to “recede” to the Senate’s position on not going to a House/Senate conference committee and to “concur” with the Senate bill.

House bill fails in Senate

The scene was set on January 14, when the House passed, along party lines, a DHS funding bill that contained provisions to roll back the president’s executive actions on immigration. The bill then went over to the Senate, where it is much more difficult to pass bills that are strictly partisan. Indeed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempted four times to bring the House bill to the floor of the Senate, but lost a procedural vote each time. On February 27, the day DHS funding was due to expire, the Senate considered a funding bill stripped of the controversial House provisions, and it passed in a bipartisan 68 – 31 vote.

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