On Wednesday, the Senate voted 98-2 on a bill that would continue to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The bill, which comes three days before a partial DHS shutdown, has created controversy between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, and was only agreed upon after Majority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell, removed provisions added by the House that would have reversed President Obama’s executive immigration action.
The Hill reported that the two votes against the bill were from Republican Senators James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Jeff Sessions of Alabama.
Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid, called the bill a “clean Homeland Security funding substitute,” and said that Democrats in the Senate would only support it on the condition that it did not reverse Obama’s immigration order.
According to the Huffington Post, under the agreement presented by McConnell, the Senate will “resolve the DHS funding issue and then vote on a separate bill” from Republican Senator Susan Collins “to block Obama’s executive actions.”
The Associated Press noted that the bill will now be sent to the House, where some conservatives called the new plan a “surrender to the White House.”
The Hill reported that several Republicans criticized this “clean” plan, and many of them vowed they would “not vote to fund agencies that would be carrying out Obama’s immigration order.”
As previously reported, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson addressed the possibility of a shutdown, while on Meet the Press on Sunday. While also commenting on threats made against the Mall of America by Islamist militants in Somalia, Johnson said it was “bizarre and absurd” that the U.S. government was having this discussion “in these challenging times.”
Following Johnson’s comments, DHS spokeswoman Marsha Catron released a statement admitting that the department was not “aware of any specific, credible plot against the Mall of America or any other domestic commercial shopping center.”