Posted: 9:06 pm Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

GOP struggles on immigration, DHS funding 

By Jamie Dupree

With Democrats using a filibuster to stop a House-passed bill that both funds the Department of Homeland Security and blocks the President’s executive actions on immigration, Senate GOP leaders moved to split the plan into two bills, but the idea was swiftly rejected by key conservative Republicans.

“Leadership’s current plan – to pass clean DHS funding and separate legislation barring executive amnesty – is a mistake,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

At first, Cruz had refused to comment following a closed door meeting of Senate Republicans, which reportedly featured sparring between different GOP factions.

Others were also circumspect about what was next.

“There’s a lot on the table,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), as reporters pursued him into an elevator just off the Senate floor.

“We’ll see how it proceeds,” Johnson said as the doors closed.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) speaks with reporters just off the Senate floor on Tuesday

“Obviously, we’re going to be here on Friday, voting,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), referring to the funding deadline for the Department of Homeland Security.

While Republicans were divided on the best way forward, they all joined in pointing the finger of blame at Democrats.

“Senate Republicans want to pass funding, Senate Democrats have repeatedly blocked it,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

Not only were some GOP Senators clearly not pleased with the next move of Senate Republican leaders, but that was also felt in the House, where GOP lawmakers will sort through their options on Wednesday morning.

When I asked one House Republican if he would vote for the plan that had been outlined by his Senate counterparts, the answer was blunt.

“Not me,” he said.

Immigration – legal update

While Congress tries to sort out their partisan battle over the President’s immigration actions, the separate legal fight continues as well, focused on a Texas federal judge who put the immigration changes on hold last week.

On Tuesday, federal judge Andrew Hanen gave the Department of Justice and the state of Texas until early next week to file briefs on the request by the Obama Administration for an emergency stay of his order.

The feds had indicated on Monday that if no action was taken by the judge before Wednesday, then the Justice Department would go to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans for further action.