The battle to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security will not be resolved Thursday night – and could come down to a series of last-minute votes Friday, the day the department is scheduled to run out of money.
Following a closed House GOP membership meeting late Thursday evening, two House Republicans told CNN that House Speaker John Boehner outlined a plan to introduce a three-week continuing resolution on Friday, that would fund the department temporarily for three weeks.
If that measure passes it would then go to the Senate for final passage – and would push the DHS shutdown off until March. Boehner said this would give House Republicans more time to press for a conference with the Senate on their bill and the clean funding measure the Senate is expected to send over.
However, passage by the House is not a sure thing. Democratic House sources tell CNN that Democrats may oppose the measure. That, combined with some conservative opposition, could doom the bill.
After the meeting New York GOP Rep. Peter King ripped House conservatives pushing for a continued stand off with the Senate, and told reporters he made similar comments in the closed door meeting.
“I’ve had it with this self-righteous delusional wing of the party, which leads us over the cliff and they try to do the charge of the light brigade,” King said.
“[Boehner] is in a tough spot, but I’ve had it with all the others – many of the others,” referring to those on the right. King argued in the meeting that the House should accept a clean DHS funding bill from the Senate.
Another moderate House Republican, Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent, also got up at the meeting and warned fellow Republicans this latest strategy was a mistake.
“Bad tactics yield bad outcomes. Self-delusion yields self-destruction. We’ve engaged up this point in an exercise in tactical malpractice,” Dent said. He predicted the House would eventually vote on a clean DHS bill.
Several House conservatives said they could go along with the move to pass a three week funding bill.
“I think we are continuing to have the fight I think we’re continuing to stand up for the Constitution,” Texas GOP Rep. Bill Flores told CNN.
But Dent told reporters Republicans were simply repeating what played out during the debate over the 2013 government shutdown.
“We’re not going to get anything,” he said.
Asked about the development that many conservatives have been successful in drawing out this fight over Homeland Security and the President’s immigration policies, King, said, “It means trouble – how many times can we go over the cliff and survive?”
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has also signaled that a conference was a non-starter for Democrats, and the GOP would need to get 60 votes for a conference committee to actually happen.
Democrats argue that DHS should be fully funded, and that a stopgap measure would just add uncertainty to the department and not offer a concrete long-term solution. Democrats are also demanding that the House pass a ‘clean’ DHS funding measure. As it stands now, a bill passed by the House coupled the DHS funding with a measure that would de-fund any attempts by President Barack Obama to enforce his recent executive order on immigration.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just announced a series of votes will take place beginning at 10 a.m. Friday that will include final passage of the clean DHS bill. There will also be a vote on whether to begin debate on a separate bill from Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, which would block the President’s executive orders on immigration, which is expected to be blocked by Democrats.
CNN’s Ted Barrett contributed to this report.