Update, 3:30 p.m. ET: The House of Representatives voted on Tuesday in favor of a clean bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, with no clause to impede President Obama's immigration programs. The final vote was 257 to 167.
A lengthy battle in Washington over funding for the Department of Homeland Security could end this week with the Republican leadership retreating from their earlier demands.
Republicans hoped to use the DHS bill to defund large-scale deportation relief programs announced by President Barack Obama in November. Now, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) appears poised to abandon that plan.
Boehner reportedly met with members of his caucus on Tuesday to break the news that he would allow the House to vote on a version of the DHS funding bill without restrictions tied to the president's immigration programs. The vote could come as early as today, according to reports.
The decision irked the party's immigration hardliners, such as Rep. Steve King (Iowa). "This is the signal of capitulation," he told The Associated Press.
But it's unlikely the immigration hawks will have much recourse. Another opponent of the move, Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), told CNN he thought the "clean" DHS bill — without caveats related to the immigration programs — would pass, since Democrats will likely join a faction of Republicans supporting it.
Officials at the Department of Homeland Security have repeatedly warned that a shutdown would weaken the country from the standpoint of national security. While the majority of the department's employees would remain on the job, a funding lapse would have significant consequences.
Boehner reportedly told fellow House Republicans that the country could not risk a DHS shutdown.
"With more active threats coming into the homeland, I don’t believe that’s an option," Boehner said, according to a source in the room who spoke to Talking Points Memo. "Imagine if, God forbid, another terrorist attack hits the United States."
Republicans in the Senate had already fled from the funding fight. On Friday, the Senate passed a "clean" DHS bill, setting the table for a similar effort in the House.
Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.