The path forward to overcome a Democrat filibuster of a Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill in the Senate remains hazy.
House Republicans were adamant Wednesday that it is up to the Senate to move forward with the House-passed DHS funding bill, that fully funds the department but blocks President Obama’s executive amnesty.
“The House has done its job,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters Wednesday. “Now why don’t you go ask the Senate Democrats when they are going to get off their ass and do something other than to vote ‘no!’”
A day earlier, House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pointed to the fact that last week Senate Democrats blocked the bill from coming to the floor for debate three times, and argued that the stalemate requires the House to act.
“I think it’s clear we can’t go forward in the Senate, unless you all have heard something I haven’t, and so the next move obviously is up to the House,” he said.
Wednesday morning Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) took a trip to the House side of the Capitol and spoke to the House GOP Conference about the battle in the Senate.
“Just giving them an update where we were and the fight that we’ve had,” Gardner explained.
House Republicans left the meeting still believing that the matter remains in the Senate’s hands, specifically Senate Democrats.
“[Senate Democrats] are holding this thing up, not the House. So the ball is in the Senate’s court and more particularly it’s in the court of the Democrats. They’re the ones who are putting the country in jeopardy, not the House,” Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) said.
That afternoon House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) visited with Senate Republicans.
“We’re talking to the whip in the House to see what we can do. The biggest problem is the Democrats continue to block a $40 billion bill — I know you all have moved on past that — but that’s the fact,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told reporters.
“The House has acted appropriately, passed $40 billion appropriations bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security and Democrats won’t even get on it to try to strip out the parts that they don’t like. So that’s to me the story, the problem,” he added, going on to note that, as whips, both he and Scalise have “math challenges” and need to get the votes necessary to pass legislation.
Scalise spokeswoman Moira Smith said the Louisiana lawmaker told the gathering of senators not to expect another DHS funding bill to come from the House.
Senators leaving the meeting expressed frustration with the Democratic strategy of refusing to even debate and offer amendments to the bill but also no real resolution to the matter.
“We’re promoting more bicameral discussion, consideration,” Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (R-SD) told reporters. “Yeah I don’t think there’s any real results to report out of that. Other than discussions continue.”
“You would think there would be a desire to at least get on the bill. Everyone knows — y’all know this — there is a second cloture that takes place that’s to get off the bill, so you have that 60 vote threshold if Democrats didn’t like what the product was they could never get off the bill and we’d be in exactly the same place,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said.
Gardner reiterated that Republicans have made it clear that Democrats would be able to amend the bill.
“Again the Democrats are blocking funding right now…. right now its in the Democrats’ hands whether they want this funded or not,” he said.