Conservative Republicans finally stood aside on Tuesday and allowed the House to approve a $40 billion Homeland Security spending bill. The action came after House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) warned earlier today that they needed to abandon their efforts to use the measure as leverage to block President Obama’s executive orders on immigration.
Boehner himself backed the bill, along with his top lieutenants. After weeks of arguing and maneuvering, the House approved the bill, 257 to 167, with ample Democratic support.
It now goes to President Obama for his expected signature.
In a sign, however, of the sharp divisions within the GOP conference, 167 Republicans opposed the measure that will assure the uninterrupted operations of Homeland Security. The department includes the Secret Service, border patrol, customs and other law enforcement agencies. Many House conservatives wanted to continue the battle, even while the GOP leadership of the House and Senate had all but given up.
Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), a fiscal conservative, called it a sad day for the country, The Hill reported. “If we aren’t going to fight now, when are we going to fight?”
The Senate has already approved the spending measure absent any language designed to block implementation of the immigration orders that protect millions of illegal immigrants from the threat of deportation. President Obama will sign the bill funding DHS through next September well in advance of a midnight-Friday deadline, when short-term spending runs out.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said in a statement, “I hope that Speaker Boehner’s belated step means that he will no longer give free-rein to the most petulant right-wing extremists in his caucus.”
The White House and Democrats in the Senate and House had held firm against any spending bill that had restrictions on the president’s immigration policies. Obama had vowed to veto any bill that impeded on his immigration initiatives.
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