John Boehner Blows Kisses to the Press, Won’t Budge on DHS

Funding for the department expires at midnight on Friday.

Marina Koren
Feb. 26, 2015, 6:45 a.m.

With less than two days to go be­fore a Home­land Se­cur­ity De­part­ment shut­down, John Boehner isn’t blink­ing.

“We passed a bill to fund the de­part­ment six weeks ago. Six weeks ago!” the House speak­er said dur­ing a press con­fer­ence Thursday. “It’s time for the Sen­ate to act. How many times do I have to say it?”

 

Boehner doesn’t ap­pear to be go­ing along with his Re­pub­lic­an coun­ter­parts in the Sen­ate, where Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell is look­ing to avert a shut­down by of­fer­ing Demo­crats a clean fund­ing bill for DHS. The speak­er would not say wheth­er he would back a Sen­ate fund­ing bill without pro­vi­sions that would de­fund Pres­id­ent Obama’s ex­ec­ut­ive ac­tions on im­mig­ra­tion. At one point, Boehner blew kisses at re­port­ers after they asked wheth­er he would.

Boehner also broke out one of his clas­sic lines, which he used dur­ing the Oc­to­ber 2013 gov­ern­ment shut­down: “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christ­mas.”

Mc­Con­nell had at­temp­ted to push through a House-passed fund­ing bill four times, but Sen­ate Demo­crats blocked it each time be­cause of the im­mig­ra­tion lan­guage. 

“Yes­ter­day, the White House press sec­ret­ary said that this was a fight amongst Re­pub­lic­ans. It is not a fight amongst Re­pub­lic­ans,” Boehner said on Thursday. “All Re­pub­lic­ans agree that we want to fund the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cur­ity and we want to stop the pres­id­ent’s ac­tions in re­sponse to im­mig­ra­tion.”

Mc­Con­nell and Boehner spoke with each oth­er on Wed­nes­day for the first time in two weeks. Boehner now has two op­tions: amend the Sen­ate le­gis­la­tion to in­clude im­mig­ra­tion lan­guage and send it back, or bring a vote to the floor in hopes of avoid­ing a shut­down.

On Thursday, when asked wheth­er he feels that his speak­er­ship is be­ing chal­lenged, Boehner said: “No, heav­en’s sakes, no. Not at all.”

Home­land Se­cur­ity Sec­ret­ary Jeh John­son has been mak­ing the rounds on the Hill this week, ur­ging law­makers to keep his de­part­ment open. Fund­ing for DHS ex­pires at mid­night Fri­day, and the de­part­ment has be­gun no­ti­fy­ing the em­ploy­ees that would face fur­loughs dur­ing a shut­down.

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