Senate Plans To Recess Next Week, Even as DHS Deadline Looms

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Funding for the Department of Homeland Security expires in two weeks, however the number of legislative days remaining for Congress to consider DHS funding is dwindling.

Next week both chambers of Congress are slated to be in recess, meaning there remain just a handful of legislative days left to deal with the matter before the February 27 DHS funding deadline.

Senate Democrats, however, have prevented a House-passed Department of Homeland Security funding bill — one that blocks Obama’s executive amnesty — from coming to the Senate floor. The path forward appears unclear.

House Republicans have argued extensively that they have done their job to fund the department by passing the initial DHS funding bill last month and do not expect to revisit the matter. Instead, they want to see the Senate move on the funding bill the House passed last month.

In that vein, House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel confirmed Thursday morning that the House still plans to recess next week.

“As you know, the House has acted to fund the Department of Homeland Security and block the president’s executive overreach on immigration,” Steel emailed. “Now, it’s up to the Senate.”

Thursday, David Vitter (R-LA) said Senate leadership should consider calling off recess.

“Leadership has never been excited about taking on this fight, period. We should be taking a fundamentally more aggressive approach,” Vitter said in an email. “We should be voting on Friday, and we should be talking about calling off the recess next week if this isn’t done.”

The possibility of staying in session has been discussed among some senators, Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) spokesman Brian Phillips confirmed. He added that that “every minute Democrats continue to obstruct the DHS funding bill makes it more of a possibility.”

The Washington Post reports that when Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) spoke at Wednesday’s House Republican conference meeting about the DHS funding issue, they were also encouraged have the Senate call off recess and remain in session.

Another conservative member of the Senate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), was asked if the Senate should stay in session next week.

“That is a decision for leadership of both chambers,” Cruz said of remaining in session.

Thursday afternoon Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) office confirmed that the Senate would be in recess next week.

“The Senate is scheduled to be in recess next week,” McConnell spokesman Michael Brumas wrote in an email. “And Senate Democrats continue to filibuster the DHS funding bill.”