With the deadline looming, some Republicans are batting around the idea of lopping off the immigration provisions and simply advancing the “clean” DHS spending bill with no attachments. A second option is a temporary, stopgap bill to fund the department for a few weeks. Such a measure is called a “Continuing Resolution” or “CR” in Congressional parlance.
“The question is can we pass a clean CR through the House?” asked Rep. John Carter (R-TX), chairman of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. “I don’t know.”
“It’s very tough,” said one senior House Republican aide about the prospects of stripping the immigration language from the bill and just okaying the DHS funding.
It’s generally thought that most of the House’s 188 Democrats would vote yes on either bill. But with 433 members, 217 are needed to pass if all lawmakers vote. According to sources, it is possible that the Republican majority might not be able to cough up 29 of its own just to avoid defunding the Department of Homeland Security. Moreover, the House could stumble clearing a procedural hurdle of its own just to bring a “clean” or stopgap bill to the floor. Most bills in the House first require a “rule” to establish the parameters of debate. But if a “rule” fails, the House can’t consider the underlying bill. The House narrowly approved the rule to bring up the last big spending bill called the “CRomnibus” in December. And that only came after some arm-twisting. In recent days, the House GOP leadership started cracking down on its deputy whips, committee chairs and subcommittee chairs over deviating on key procedural votes. The argument was that if those lawmakers wanted to remain in those positions, they must vote with leaders.