A federal judge's stay of President Obama's executive action on immigration could give congressional Republicans a lifeline to avoid a partial shutdown of the Homeland Security Department. But it's not clear yet that they'll take it.
With funding set to lapse at the end of the month, and a House-passed bill stalled in the Senate over provisions rolling back Obama's executive action, some Capitol Hill sources began speculating privately that the temporary injunction could give House and Senate leaders cover to pass a clean DHS funding bill—either one that covers the remainder of the fiscal year, as Democrats have demanded, or a short-term measure that would set up another looming deadline.
It's unclear if Republican leaders want to seize the opportunity—or indeed if their rank-and-file will allow it—but with members away from Washington for the week, it was clear Tuesday that the standoff will continue until at least next week.
By allowing the courts to work their will, the thinking goes, leadership could avoid consternation from conservatives in their aisles, while earning enough Democratic votes to fund the department with a clean spending bill.
But House and Senate leadership on Tuesday forecast that they would continue with their plan as usual. House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doubled down, joining conservative members in both chambers in using the judge's decision to put more pressure on Senate Democrats to capitulate.