by Caroline May
2 Mar 2015

Senate Democrats blocked consideration of a motion to agree to the House’s request to take the Department of Homeland Security appropriations process to a conference committee on Monday evening.

The vote failed on a vote of 47-43. Sixty votes were needed for the measure to advance to debate.

Last month the House passed a DHS funding bill that also defunded President Obama’s executive amnesty. Senate Democrats spent the much of the month of February blocking the House-passed bill from getting to the Senate floor for debate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell eventually acquiesced to Democrats’ demands for a so-called “clean” DHS funding bill — or one free of the Democrat-opposed House immigration riders — last week. That clean bill passed the Senate, creating discord between the House- and Senate-passed bills.

House Republicans on Friday passed a motion to go to conference with the Senate to reconcile the chambers’ divergent funding bills on a vote of 228-191.

Senate Democrats’ obstruction was not unexpected. Last week Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid told reporters that a conference committee was not in the cards.

“We will not allow a conference to take place. It won’t happen,” Reid said last Thursday, a message he restated on the Senate floor Monday.

McConnell, before the vote Monday, called on Democrats to work with the House bill, saying that the continued obstruction “doesn’t make any sense.”

“It’s interesting to see the distance between rhetoric and reality with some of our Democrat friends. Not just on conferencing bills, not just on addressing the President’s overreach, but also with the use of the filibuster itself,” McConnell said.

“Some of the folks who are now filibustering simply for the sake of delaying and causing gridlock are the same folks who used to denounce the filibuster,” he added. “It’s interesting to see that they weren’t serious.”

Now that the Senate has essentially rejected the House’s move to a conference committee, eyes once again return to the House and how House Republicans will respond.

Funding for DHS expires Friday.