Bill reversing immigration actions stalled in Senate

The Senate failed to move forward with a House-approved bill overturning Obama’s executive actions on immigration on Tuesday:

Most of the Senate’s 55 Republicans backed the motion to proceed to the bill in the 51-48 vote, but GOP Sen. Dean Heller (Nev.) voted against even considering the legislation.

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also switched his vote to no to preserve his ability to bring the legislation back to the floor.

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) missed the vote and one earlier in the day because of flight problems from Chicago.

All of the chamber’s Democrats voted ‘no’ on the procedural move.

The next step for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is unclear.

The language reversing Obama’s executive actions is attached to legislation funding the Homeland Security Department through the end of the fiscal year. Without a new funding bill, the department, which includes the Transportation Security Administration, Secret Service and Coast Guard, would partially shut down after Feb. 27.

Many of the agency’s employees would continue to go to work, but a shutdown would leave Republicans open to criticism from the White House that they are putting security at risk.

The House legislation — which blocks funding for the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and reverses another action from November that would shield the immediate family of citizens and permanent residents from deportation — is extremely unlikely to pass the Senate. However, House Republicans are unlikely to compromise on a bill that doesn’t overturn Obama’s immigration actions.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) believes McConnell will will schedule additional votes on the motion to proceed:

“We need to do everything we can to push what was passed by the House of Representatives through,” he said. “I think we’re going to stay at it, I don’t think we’re just going to walk away from it.”

McConnell has little time, however. Congress is only expected to be in session for two more weeks in February, with the week of President’s Day off.