By a 257-167, the U.S. House approved a Department of Homeland Security funding bill Tuesday that does not reverse President Barack Obama's immigration programs.
The DHS funding bill without immigration riders, which garnered support from 182 House Democrats and 75 Republicans, cleared the Senate last week and now heads to Obama's desk. The measure fully funds DHS through September 30, the end of the current fiscal year, and prevents a partial shutdown of the agency, which was slated to run out of money Friday at midnight.
Congress had been locked in a battle over the DHS funding bill for weeks, with Republicans trying to attach immigration roll backs to the measure. In January, the House approved a DHS funding bill that would derail Obama's executive actions on immigrations, but Democrats were able to block the measure in the Senate.
In discussing his decision to bring a "clean" DHS funding bill up for a vote Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH,8) reportedly told House GOP lawmakers this morning, "I am as outraged and frustrated as you at the lawless and unconstitutional actions of this president."
"I believe this decision - considering where we are - is the right one for this team, and the right one for this country," Boehner added.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11) had this to say Tuesday after voting in favor of the "clean" DHS funding bill: "I am pleased that House Republicans finally came to their senses after once again taking our government to the brink by using funding for the Department of Homeland Security as a political football."
"I am disappointed that they were willing to put our security at risk for the sole purpose of overturning President Obama's executive actions on immigration reform," Foster added. "The president's proposal will provide much needed relief to families stuck in our broken immigration system."
UPDATE 1 (4:29 p.m.): J. David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, released this statement in response to the DHS funding bill approved by Congress:
After taking us to the brink of a shutdown, lawmakers finally have seen the light of day and approved a funding bill that will ensure operations at the Department of Homeland Security will continue uninterrupted through the rest of the fiscal year. DHS employees safeguard our borders, skies, waterways, public buildings, and communities. It's unfortunate that the 230,000 federal employees who work at this vital department had to face the prospect of not going to work, or working and not getting paid, due to a manufactured crisis that was completely avoidable.
UPDATE 2 (4:48 p.m.): U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL,4) issued these remarks following the DHS funding measure's passage:
This is a huge victory for the United States and for American families. The minority within the Republican Party that forced us to the brink of shutting down the Department of Homeland Security has been overruled by more rational Members of Congress. What an embarrassment that it came to this. Let's have a debate, let's have disagreements, but let's not allow Congress to toy with the pay-checks of border guards, airport security, and national security professionals to score points.
The courts should - and will - decide whether the Republican's deportation lawsuit has merit. I think the case against the President's immigration executive actions is weak and that the Chief Executive has powers of prosecutorial discretion that are well established in the law and precedent.
The courts will do their job to rule on the pending court case and the Congress must do its job to pass new immigration laws to fix our broken immigration system. But I am glad we have stopped playing these dangerous budget and shutdown games for the time being.