After a back in forth in strategy that saw the House reject a “clean Homeland Security funding bill” that would have provided funding through the end of the fiscal year without conditions regarding immigration, the Congress instead extended funding through this week. It is unclear what will happen next but there is a potential deal that would allow some back and forth in votes between the Senate and House with a final action to extend funding through the end of the fiscal year, September 30. Earlier on Friday, a three week extension looked like it was going to pass but the House leadership instead faced a revolt in their ranks and that bill went down to defeat.
While the House leadership was facing a rebellion on the Homeland Department funding bill, they also ran into problems with a vote on a bill to reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). HR 5 had been approved by the Education and Workforce Committee last month and was largely the same bill that passed the House last year. A debate had been agreed to through the Rules Committee with several hours of debate that included a series of amendments from Republicans and Democrats but that apparently failed to assuage conservative critics in the Republican caucus. Instead the House leadership ended that debate when it looked like there would not be enough Republican votes to approve a final bill. Some conservatives feel the bill doesn’t go far enough in converting the ESEA into an education fund that eliminates categories and education and several requirements. The Democrats are not expected to support the bill and it will likely require at least 218 Republican votes. A House bill would eventually go to a Senate-House Conference Committee if and when the Senate moves their possible legislation through both committee and floor debate.