Legislative Activity

Congress Narrowly Averts DHS Shut-Down, Passes Stop-Gap Measure

Late Friday night, Congress passed a stopgap measure extending funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) one week, clearing the bill for the President’s signature less than two hours before the previous Continuing Resolution (CR) was set to expire. The 11th hour agreement came after the House failed to pass a three-week CR, with 52 Republicans joining 172 Democrats in voting down the measure approved by the Senate earlier that day. The failed vote shocked many, with conservatives siding with Democrats to defeat a bill backed by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH).

House Democrats reportedly agreed to join their Republican colleagues in supporting the one-week measure in return for a vote this week to fund DHS through the end of the fiscal year without addressing the President’s executive actions, a claim House Republican leadership denies. The two parties will continue negotiations this week in an attempt to hopefully avoid another impasse and last-minute flurry of votes. The two sides barely avoided shut-down of DHS this week, an event that may have been politically damaging to Republicans especially. However, Senate Republicans are disappointed with the extension, which they believe only burns political capital ahead of a tough 2016 election cycle.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, March 3: The Senate Judiciary Committee will host a hearing titled “Oversight of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Ensuring Agency Priorities Comply with the Law.”

Executive Branch Activity

President Considers Proceeding with Deportation-Relief Program

This past Wednesday, Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) said that the Obama Administration is considering whether it can proceed with the President’s executive actions on immigration in states not involved in ongoing litigation to block them. Last week, a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction barring implementation of the President’s proposals as part of a suit filed by 26 states challenging those actions. The injunction halts the creation of a new deferred deportation program for parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents announced by the President last November. It also calls on DHS to stop expansion of the Obama Administration’s 2012 program deferring deportation for certain immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. Last week, the Obama Administration filed an appeal and motion to stay the judge’s injunction and requesting that the President’s programs be permitted to proceed while appeal of the order works its way through the courts. Ultimately, consideration of the stay and of the underlying litigation itself could take months or more to conclude.