POLITICS

Senate Dems nix debate on Homeland Security bill, blocking it, in protest over immigration

In this Nov. 7, 2014 file photo, people rally for comprehensive immigration reform outside the White House in Washington.

In this Nov. 7, 2014 file photo, people rally for comprehensive immigration reform outside the White House in Washington.  (AP)

Senate Democrats followed through on their threat to filibuster action on a Homeland Security Department funding bill that included blocking President Barack Obama’s unilateral actions that would give relief from deportation to millions of undocumented immigrants.

The Senate vote on Tuesday on whether to start a formal debate on the bill got 51-48, nine short of the 60 votes that were required to proceed.

Democrats say they are happy to provide funds for the department as well as debate immigration, but want the two issues to be dealt with separately.

Republicans said that in reality, Democrats were blocking needed funding in a time of terrorism.
Earlier this year, the House passed a similar bill.

The Senate's top Republican, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, indicated would order a second vote in the days ahead. The agency will lose some of its funding on Feb. 27 if Congress doesn't act by then.

Earlier in the day, House Speaker John Boehner urged fellow Republicans in the Senate to stop Obama's executive actions on immigration.

Boehner says the House already won the fight by passing a bill to fund the Homeland Security Department and block Obama's new policies.

At a news conference Tuesday, Boehner singled out Cruz and Sessions, hardliners who have pressured House conservatives to buck leadership on immigration bills.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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