WASHINGTON — The Senate's No. 2 Democrat says if House Republican leaders follow through on plans to add several immigration riders to a Homeland Security funding bill, they should expect a "fight" in the Senate.

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, pushed back hard Tuesday morning against House GOP plans to pass amendments that would defund a number of immigration programs.

"I will tell you this: If this bill comes over from the House of Representatives and this bill eliminates [the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program], puts 1.6 million young [people] into ... legal jeopardy of facing deportation and then eliminates the rights of their parents who have children who are citizens or legal residents to stay in this country," Durbin said, "then we're going to see a fight on the floor of the United States Senate."

House Republican leaders are poised to pass a $39.7 billion DHS appropriations bill — but likely with a list of amendments tacked on that target President Barack Obama's recent immigration action.

For the latest national security news from Capitol Hill, go to CongressWatch.At stake is a Department of Homeland Security shutdown in late February, just weeks after gunmen inspired by al-Qaida killed 17 in Paris.

The underlying spending bill, a proposed $400 million hike over the 2014 enacted level for DHS, would fund the US Coast Guard and other agencies that analysts say do billions worth of business annually with defense firms for things like helicopters, planes, vehicles, ships and other equipment.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters Tuesday that his No. 1 goal is to provide funding for the department for the remainder of fiscal 2015. He listed the immigration riders as a secondary goal.

Republican members believe Obama's recent decision to halt deportations for millions of undocumented aliens is against the law. They are using the DHS funding bill as leverage to counter the action because the department carries out most federal immigration tasks.

The House also will vote on several amendments "that will clarify how the president has been running the operations, including where the American worker is, where sex offenders are, and some ancillary language," said House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas.

The panel approved the measure Monday evening, sending it and the amendments to the House floor, defying a White House veto threat.

The Obama administration signaled late Monday afternoon that the president would veto any bill featuring the immigration amendments. The White House said it supports the underlying DHS funding bill.

"The administration appreciates the Congress' continued robust funding of the department, including support for important federal cybersecurity initiatives, disaster relief and recovery programs, and essential law enforcement activities," the White House said in a statement. "These funds are critical for ensuring the department can help keep our nation safe from harm."

House GOP leaders plan to bring their DHS funding measure and the immigration amendments to the floor for final votes on Wednesday.

Boehner declined to comment on whether, should the controversial riders be stripped or defeated, he would bring a so-called "clean" DHS-funding measure to the floor before the department runs out of money on Feb. 27.

Meantime, Democrats hammered the speaker and called for the two parties to craft a separate immigration-reform bill.

"In January, a horrible, horrible terrorist attack took place in Paris," Pelosi told reporters Tuesday morning during a cold and blustery press conference held on the steps of the Capitol. "You'd think it would have heightened the urgency to pass a homeland security bill, but the Republicans still say no to passing a clean bill unless they can be a menace to immigration."

Durbin called a broader immigration bill "one of the most important things we can do," adding "we need to work together on a bipartisan basis."


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