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Homeland Security May Shutdown In Hours, Funding Bill Rejected

Republicans failed to pass a proposal to fund the Department of Homeland Security on Friday, meaning the agency may face a partial shutdown in just hours as its money runs out at midnight.

The NYTimes report:

The embarrassing defeat for House Speaker John A. Boehner and his leadership team came after the Senate had passed its own legislation in the morning to fund the department through the fiscal year.

House Republicans had hoped to pass their own counterproposal, a short-term measure fund the department for three weeks, pushing the fight over President Obama’s immigration policies into March.

But after a day of behind-the-scenes arm twisting and cajoling, the temporary fix collapsed during a tense vote on the House floor Friday evening. Many of the conference’s more conservative measures refused to support their leadership’s bill, and House Democrats remained largely unified, leaving Mr. Boehner without the necessary votes.

As the bill was defeated, a lawmaker from the Republican side of the chamber shouted, “Good luck!”

House Republicans are now regrouping, scrambling to rally the necessary votes — or come up with another last ditch solution — and the majority leader advised that there could be more votes later Friday evening.

The impasse over the Homeland Security agency reflects a broader fight in Congress over President Obama’s immigration policies. Republicans are trying to attach restrictions on Mr. Obama’s executive action on immigration to the funding measure.

But it also exposed deep rifts between House and Senate Republicans, who struggled in recent weeks to agree on a pragmatic path forward to both keep the agency running and express their displeasure with the president’s recent immigration action.

“We should have never fought this battle,” said Senator Mark S. Kirk, Republican of Illinois. “In my view, in the long run, if you are blessed with the majority, you are blessed with the power to govern. If you’re going to govern, you have to act responsibly.”

After the Republicans gained control of the Senate and increased their margins in the House in the November elections, both Mr. Boehner and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, promised to reverse Congress’s pattern of hurtling from crisis to crisis, even over matters like appropriations that were once relatively routine.

But in their first big test, the Republican leaders often seemed to be working from different playbooks, at times verging on hostile, with each saying it was time for the other chamber to act.