House Republicans emerged from their closed-door meeting Wednesday morning in agreement they'll wait and see what the Senate can pass in regards to legislation funding the Department of Homeland Security.
That is, however, where the strategy ends, at least in terms of what's being articulated publicly.
Members left the hour-long gathering in the basement of the Capitol unclear what their next move would or should be in the event Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., succeeds in getting the votes in his chamber to advance a "clean" bill to prevent a DHS shutdown on Friday.
A wide swath of House Republicans still don't want to vote for any DHS spending bill that doesn't include policy riders blocking President Barack Obama's executive orders on immigration.
Some GOP lawmakers suggest that if leadership were to put a rider-free bill on the floor, it would pass, but only with significant help from Democrats, meaning Speaker John A. Boehner could face a mutiny from his ultraconservative rank-and-file.
Boehner could face a revolt. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
At the microphones Wednesday morning following his meeting with the conference, the Ohio Republican wouldn't entertain questions from the press as to whether he was worried about his leadership status.
Instead, he stuck to the script.
"Until the Senate does something, we're in wait-and-see mode," Boehner said.
He reiterated that the House had passed a bill to fund the DHS over a month ago, albeit one with the language to halt the executive orders' implementation that Senate Democrats have repeatedly filibustered.
"I'm waiting for the Senate to act," Boehner said. "The House has done its job."
House Republican lawmakers told reporters there was little consensus inside the room beyond biding time until the other chamber make the next move.
Members offered blistering reviews of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who has been blocking the House-passed DHS bill and on Tuesday said he would not provide the votes for a clean spending measure unless Boehner promised to let his members vote on it.
But some Republicans expressed a new desire to vote for an immigration rider-free bill if it were to come to the House floor. Those members say that openness comes in light of the recent court ruling in Texas to halt implementation of the executive actions, and increasing optimism the Obama administration will not win its legal challenge.
"I can't speak for the rest of my colleagues, but it's one of the reasons I stood up in conference and gave them the timeline that was given to me by the solicitor general of Texas," said Texas GOP Rep. John Carter, who is also the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee chairman. "At least we can say that within the next 30 to 60 days we will be able to find out whether the president will be successful ... and I don't think he will be."
Meanwhile, House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said he and his team are on standby to produce a stop-gap spending bill to keep DHS going in the absence of a longer-term deal on Capitol Hill.
"We can do a quickly, so the committee is prepared to do that if the leadership decides that's the way they want to go," Rogers told reporters.
Tamar Hallerman contributed to this report.
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