Congress close in on short-term Homeland Security bill – My Way News

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress closed in Friday on approving a short-term spending bill for the Homeland Security Department that would avert a partial agency shutdown hours before it was to begin.

The legislation also leaves intact Obama administration executive actions on immigration that Republicans have vowed to overturn. But Republicans insisted that passing a short-term bill preserved their ability to keep fighting them.

An early vote in the House clearing the way for final passage of the bill was approved easily, 240-183.

“The House must pass this bill in short order to keep the lights on at the Department of Homeland Security in the near term,” said Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky. “Hopefully, this will buy us this additional time that we clearly need.”

But Senate Republicans had already admitted defeat. As debate proceeded in the House, the Senate voted 68-31 to approve a full-year bill free of contentious immigration provisions. Some House Republicans predicted that they would eventually end up doing the same thing.

For now, the three-week stopgap measure would allow lawmakers to keep the Homeland Security Department running at a time of heightened threats worldwide — even if it does little more than postpone the fight for another day.

“It’s the best solution that we have available to us right now,” said Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark. “Nobody wants to shut down the Department of Homeland Security.”

The bill would extend current funding levels for the department until March 19. Without action, DHS would begin to shut down at midnight Friday, furloughing 30,000 workers. Another 200,000 would be deemed essential and continue to report to work, albeit without pay.

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