In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Republican Senator: Time To Give Up This Immigration Fight And Fund DHS

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AP Photo / Bill Clark

Does the GOP share blame for the impasse over DHS?

"It does," Kirk said. "Had I been consulted, which I wasn't, I don't think we should have ever attached these issues to DHS funding. I always thought the burden of being in the majority is the burden of governing."

Kirk, who faces a potentially tough reelection battle in 2016 in Obama's home state, also criticized Democrats for filibustering House-passed legislation to keep DHS funded and overturn Obama's immigration moves. He said the battle won't hurt his reelection bid.

Asked by TPM if McConnell should allow a vote on a "clean" DHS funding bill without the immigration provisions, Kirk said, "Yeah, I think in the end — yeah," and flashed a thumbs up. That makes him the first Republican senator to call on his leaders to back away from the immigration fight.

House and Senate GOP leaders are at an impasse, with each saying it's incumbent on the other chamber to make the next move to avoid a partial shutdown of DHS on February 27. Conservative activists are keeping up the pressure on Republicans not to blink. Anxieties are growing that Congress will fail to act in time.

Kirk's comments reflect a marked change in tune from one day earlier, when he excoriated Democrats over their handling of the issue. "The Republicans — if there is a successful attack during a DHS shutdown — we should build a number of coffins outside each Democratic office and say, 'You are responsible for these dead Americans,'" he said Tuesday, as quoted by Politico.