Thursday, February 26, 2015

House Rules Committee Meeting on DHS CR

This evening the House Rules Committee is meeting to formulate the rule for the consideration of HJ Res 35, a short term continuing resolution for the FY 2015 spending for the Department of Homeland Security. This CR will extend the current DHS funding deadline until March 19th.

The Senate is scheduled to have a series of votes on HR 240, the FY 2015 DHS spending bill. The final vote will be on an amended version of the bill that does not have the immigration provisions repealing some of the actions that the President has recently taken under administrative orders. Once that version passes in the Senate the House will either have to acquiesce to those changes or request a conference committee to resolve the differences.

The House Republican leadership is currently unwilling to agree to the changes in HR 240 and the Senate Democrats have announced that they would object to a conference, so it is unlikely that a final vote on HR 240 would be able to be completed before midnight tomorrow night when the current CR deadline runs out.

The two and a half week extension would likely allow the Senate to finish work on a bill that addresses the immigration issues covered in the House version of HR 240. Sen. McConnell (R,TN) got Democrats to agree to allow such a bill to come to the floor in exchange for his bringing a clean version of HR 240 to the floor. The House Republicans could then pass that bill to get the immigration issue ‘dealt with’. The pressure would then be off the Republicans to demand such action in the appropriations bill.

The Committee will almost certainly call for a closed rule with limited debate to allow the bill to come to a vote tomorrow morning. This would allow the Senate to take up the bill in the afternoon, effectively stopping a DHS shutdown.

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