POLITICS

Boehner challenges Senate Democrats to 'get off their ass' and pass the DHS bill as is

Speaker John Boehner  following a GOP strategy meeting, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015

Speaker John Boehner following a GOP strategy meeting, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015

House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday it’s time for the Senate to do its job and pass a GOP-backed bill that provides funding the Homeland Security Department, with the caveat that it restricts President Barack Obama's executive moves on immigration.

"The House has done its job, why don't you go ask the Senate Democrats when they're going to get off their ass and do something other than to vote no?" Boehner told reporters after meeting with Republican lawmakers. "The issue here is not Senate Republicans. The issue here is Senate Democrats."

Without action by Feb. 27, the Homeland Security Department's $40 billion budget will be shut off.

It's not clear how the impasse will be resolved since Republicans in both chambers insist they have no plans for further action. The likeliest outcome may be a short-term extension of current funding levels for the Department of Homeland Security, something agency leaders say would jeopardize their ability to make needed changes at the Secret Service, Border Patrol and other agencies.

In response to Bohener latest comment, a spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said that "cursing is not going to resolve the squabbling among Republicans that led to this impasse."

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"Democrats have been clear from day one about the way out of this mess: take up the clean Homeland Security funding bill which Republicans signed off on in December — and which is ready to come to the Senate floor — pass it, and move on," said Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson.

The issue has emerged with Republicans in their second month of full congressional control after four years of holding the majority in the House but not the Senate. House Republicans have been frustrated to discover that because of Senate rules giving significant rights to the minority party, little has changed and they still can't get their bills through the Senate.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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