Senate Democrats are setting the terms of the debate on the funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security. They don't want any of the anti-immigrant riders that House Republicans attached to that bill, reports Seung Min Kim
In a letter to be released later Tuesday, the Senate Democratic Caucus will press Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to put up a funding bill for DHS free of provisions rolling back President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration or other controversial riders.
The fact that all members of the Senate Democratic Caucus are endorsing a clean funding bill is critical, since McConnell will need the aid of at least half a dozen Democrats to advance any legislation.
Critical indeed. McConnell needs those votes and Senate Democrats are making a bold show of unity.
The letter states the obvious: "The House bill cannot pass the Senate." Then it sticks it to McConnell.
“In light of recent events in Paris, Ottawa and Australia, the threat of ISIS and the proliferation of foreign fighters that return home radicalized, DHS funding should not be tied to divisive political issues that could jeopardize this critical funding.”
If Republicans continue jumping through hoops to target immigrants with a bill that should simply fund DHS, Senate Democrats will say, "We warned you and we told you so."
New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the ranking Democrat on the panel that handles DHS funding, and Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, led the effort.
The only Senate Democrat not to formally sign on is Harry Reid, the caucus’ leader, who stressed again last week that lawmakers must pass a Homeland Security funding bill with no strings attached.