House Fails to Pass Stopgap Bill to Fund Homeland Security – NBCNews.com
In a stunning rebuke to GOP leaders, the House failed on Friday night to pass a three-week measure to keep the Department of Homeland Security funded, throwing the agency’s funding into further uncertainly as a midnight deadline looms to avert a shutdown.
The vote was 203-224.
It’s unclear what House Speaker John Boehner will do next. If the House does not act by midnight, the Department of Homeland Security will run out of funding, triggering a shutdown of the agency.
Fifty-two Republicans broke with their leadership to oppose the temporary funding measure. Conservatives said the stopgap bill represented a cave to the White House by failing to curtail the president’s executive orders regarding immigration.
And only a dozen Democrats backed the bill after party leaders discouraged them from supporting a measure that would simply rehash the current fight again in mid-March. House Democrats want a bill, passed earlier Friday by the Senate, to fund the department for one year without any immigration-related add-ons.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi suggested before the vote that Boehner should “get a grip” and find a solution to the impasse.
House leaders had argued that the weeks-long extension would give them time to hash out differences with the Senate to come up with a long-term solution that also addressed immigration. But Boehner was unable to woo enough conservatives with that argument, forcing another scramble as the clock ticks towards midnight.
Earlier Friday, the Senate passed a one-year extension of DHS funding without any immigration riders. Senate Democrats have urged Republicans to take that measure up, but conservatives vehemently reject that idea.
Republican House leaders could try to pass another short-term budget extension or call a vote on the Senate bill. But that would anger conservatives so much that Boehner could face a challenge to his Speakership.
Or, they could fail to get any measure passed, forcing DHS into an agency shutdown.
In the event of a shutdown, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has said that about 80 percent of DHS employees would still be required to come to work but would not be paid until Congress acts.
– Carrie Dann, Alex Moe, Frank Thorp and Luke Russert