Legislative Activity

Senate Democrats Unite to Oppose House DHS Funding Bill

Led by Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), 45 Senate Democrats sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on January 27, indicating their opposition to certain provisions in the House-passed FY 2015 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act (H.R. 240), such as riders to prohibit funding of President Barack Obama’s executive immigration actions. Sen. Shaheen has enough Democratic votes to force a filibuster, but would prefer to drop the House-passed bill and instead consider a clean version of the bill (S. 272). Some Democrats – including Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) – are concerned that a filibuster could damage the party’s image if a filibuster leads to a DHS shutdown.

Majority Leader McConnell has indicated that he plans to bring up the DHS funding bill once the Senate completes consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline bill. Several high-ranking Republicans, including Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) have stated that Republicans are “determined to fight for the House bill.”

Congress to Debate President’s Budget

The White House is expected to release the FY 2016 President’s Budget later today. In line with recent budgets, the FY 2016 budget is expected to include robust funding for DHS, including Customs & Border Protection staffing to secure the southwest border and Immigration & Customs Enforcement funding for detention beds and enforcement activities. The budget will also include funding for the executive immigration actions announced on November 20, 2014. The Senate Budget Committee is slated to consider the budget on February 3, and the House Budget Committee will debate it on February 4. Republicans in both chambers are expected to support border security and interior enforcement funding but strongly oppose funding for President Obama’s executive immigration actions.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, February 3: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security will hold a hearing titled “A Review of Access Control Measures at Our Nation’s Airports.”
  • Wednesday, February 4: The House Judiciary Committee will hold a full committee hearing titled “Examining the Adequacy and Enforcement of Our Nation’s Immigrant Laws.”
  • Wednesday, February 4: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Deferred Action on Immigration: Implications and Unanswered Questions.”
  • Wednesday, February 4: The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security will hold a hearing on the Legal Workforce Act.
  • The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security will hold a hearing on pending immigration enforcement legislation.
  • The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies will hold a hearing titled “Emerging Threats and Technology to Protect the Homeland.”