Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Friday called on senators to support the $1 trillion spending bill the House passed Thursday night, in part because it will allow the implementation of President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration.
Reid said that while there are parts of the bill he doesn't like, it still "achieves many of our important priorities."
"It gives the Affordable Care Act the secure financial footing that it deserves," he said. "It increases funding for student loans. It ensures the president's executive action to protect families can move forward, and it provides funding to fight the Ebola epidemic."
The absence of any language preventing Obama from moving ahead on his plan to protect up to 5 million illegal immigrants and let them work in the United States was a sore point for dozens of House Republicans Thursday night. In the end, 67 GOP members refused to vote for the spending bill, mostly because of the immigration fight.
Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), who was one of several Republicans who pushed unsuccessfully to include language blocking Obama's move, said he could not pass a bill that funds Obama's "unconstitutional executive amnesty."
"I cannot vote to allow an agency of this government to commit an act that the president and the House leadership on both sides have previously agreed is illegal," he said. Allowing the funding of executive amnesty, even just until the end of February, allows the program to be implemented and amnesty to be enacted."
Under the huge bill, the Department of Homeland Security will be funded only through February 27, which Republicans say will give them a chance to fight Obama's action early next year, when Republicans run the House and the Senate.
Reid said he hopes to pass the bill Friday afternoon. Late Thursday, both the House and Senate approved a short extension of government funding, which will keep the government open until Saturday. He said the bill would come up in the afternoon, after senators finish work on a defense authorization bill.
"I hope we can complete work on this bill as soon as we finish the defense bill, but that depends on everyone's cooperation here," Reid said. "But… there isn't a lot of time. Government funding runs out at midnight Saturday."