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Congress Will Vote On Homeland Security; Agency's Funding Ends Tonight

Republicans in the Senate have come to terms with the need for a "clean" bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, one that doesn't require changes to the executive actions President Obama has taken on immigration. The agency is set to run out of money at midnight tonight.

Now, according to NPR's Ailsa Chang, they want the House to follow suit.

As an example, Ailsa quotes Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who says the burden of the majority is the burden of governing: "As a governing party, we've got to fund DHS and say to the House, "Here's a straw, so you can suck it up.'"

Last night, Republican leaders in the House came up with a different idea: to fund DHS for three weeks to give the two chambers of Congress time to work out a compromise measure.

Both the House and Senate are expected to vote on bills to fund the DHS Friday, and there's a chance the Senate might approve its own version of the three-week plan, to avoid a shutdown.

"I don't know if [the House] can pass the three-week bill," Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York told MSNBC Friday. "We would much prefer they do a full funding bill, but we're not going to shut the government down."

As the AP reports, some Republicans in the House have said that shutting down DHS would be an acceptable cost to forcing changes on immigration.

From the AP:

" 'Shutting down' the agency known as DHS 'is a set of words that don't really have the meaning that people attribute to it,' said Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama. 'There was hardly any effect whatsoever on the Department of Homeland Security from the last shutdown, and I would anticipate a similar effect this time.' "Brooks was referring to the 2013 partial federal government shutdown that Americans blamed mostly on Republicans, and which many GOP leaders have vowed not to repeat."

Republicans in the House have noted that many DHS workers, such as transportation security officers, were declared "essential" and went to work as normal. But as Ailsa reported earlier this week, those security officers were left without paychecks until after the shutdown was resolved.

"You know, the House by nature and by design is a hell of a lot more rambunctious place than the Senate," Speaker John Boehner said.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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