Congress has passed legislation that will fund the Department of Homeland Security without touching President Obama’s immigration actions, bringing an end to a months-long battle that threatened to shut down an agency tasked with helping protect the U.S. against terrorist threats.
In a 257 to 167 vote, the House passed a “clean” Homeland Security funding bill on Tuesday without provisions that would curtail the president’s executive orders on immigration. The Senate passed the legislation last week and the president’s signature is certain.
Funding for Homeland Security, which was set to run out midnight on Friday, will now go through Sept. 30 of this year.
The vote is a blow to conservatives in the House who fought to use the spending measure as a way to force the president to roll back his orders aimed at allowing millions of undocumented immigrants the chance to stay in the U.S. legally. Conservatives contend that the orders are unconstitutional and all 1of the 67 no votes came from Republicans.
But Senate Democrats blocked legislation that included language on immigration, and some Republicans publicly acknowledged they would be the party that would get blamed if the agency shut down.
Boehner announced in a closed-door meeting of Republican members on Tuesday morning that the House would vote on the year-long funding bill.
According to a person present, GOP lawmakers were silent after Boehner spoke.
House leaders also canceled a scheduled morning press conference, citing the need to prepare for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's highly-anticipated speech to Congress later Tuesday morning.
The decision comes after lawmakers passed a one-week extension of the agency's funding late Friday night, just hours before a midnight deadline that would have triggered a partial shutdown of the agency. That bill required the cooperation of House Democrats to pass; an earlier three-week proposed extension failed after 52 Republicans rebelled against House leaders and voted no.
The Senate passed a "clean" version of the bill last week. On Monday, Senate Democrats blocked a measure that would have opened a negotiation process between the two chambers.
On Tuesday, Boehner argued that the move is necessary because of Senate Democrats' united front against Republican demands that the DHS funding be linked to the immigration issue, a source in the room told NBC News.
"Unfortunately, the fight was never won in the other chamber. Democrats stayed united and blocked our bill, and our Republican colleagues in the Senate never found a way to win this fight," he said, according to the person.