The US House on Wednesday approved a homeland security spending bill with billions for defense firms — but it likely is DOA in the Senate.
In a mostly party-line vote, 236-191, House members approved a $39.7 billion Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill that would give the agency funding to do operations, buy equipment and do a myriad of other things.
But they also tacked on several amendments targeting President Barack Obama’s recent immigration action. The move was telegraphed late last week, drawing the ire of moderate Senate Democrats needed to reach the necessary 60-vote threshold in that chamber and prompting a veto threat from the White House.
The DHS-funding measure contains billions for defense sector-supplied Coast Guard hardware, like National Security Cutter ships, HC-130J aircraft acquisitions and maintenance, H-60 helicopter re-manufacturing, and other programs.
Congressional aides and observers predict both chambers will pass a “clean” DHS appropriations bill before Feb. 27, when the post-9/11 agency’s funding will run out.
But first, the Senate must act.
Assistant Senate Minority Leader Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, on Tuesday morning said House GOP leaders would be picking a fight with his members should they follow through with the plan to add amendments that would defund a number of immigration programs.
They did just that about 24 hours later.
“I will tell you this: If this bill comes over from the House of Representatives and this bill eliminates [the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program], puts 1.6 million young [people] into … legal jeopardy of facing deportation and then eliminates the rights of their parents who have children who are citizens or legal residents to stay in this country,” Durbin said on the chamber floor, “then we’re going to see a fight on the floor of the United States Senate.