Budget deadlock may shut down Department of Homeland Security

February 17, 2015 8:57 am

The
agency is caught up in a fight over President Barack Obama’s immigration
actions, with February 27 as the date when the $40 billion budget would
shut off.
A House-passed bill would cover the department through
September 30, the end of the current budget year, and overturn Obama’s
move to limit deportations for millions of immigrants who are in the
illegally

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner is raising the
possibility that the Department of Homeland Security may shut down at
the end of the month because of a budget impasse.
He blamed
Democrats, but Democrats responded by saying responsibility would fall
on the Republican and the country would suffer. The department was
created after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The
agency is caught up in a fight over President Barack Obama’s immigration
actions, with February 27 as the date when the $40 billion budget would
shut off.
A House-passed bill would cover the department through
September 30, the end of the current budget year, and overturn Obama’s
move to limit deportations for millions of immigrants who are in the
United States illegally.
But in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declared a stalemate and urged the House to make the next move.

Senate Democrats, while in the minority, have been able to
block action on the bill in protest of the Republican language on
immigration.
When asked if he were prepared to let department funding run out, Boehner told Fox , “Certainly. The House has acted. We’ve done our job.”
Democrats pounced. In linking immigration and the budget, Boehner “knew exactly what he was doing,” said Senator Chuck Schumer.
Drew
Hammill, spokesman for House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, said there
are enough votes in the House now to pass legislation without the
immigration provisions “if only Speaker Boehner will get out of the
way”.
Earlier Sunday, Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough,
tried to pressure the Republican-run Congress to act. During an
appearance on CBS, he noted that Congress would keep getting
paid, but vital employees at the border and airports, among other
places, would have to work without pay while the funding dispute
lingered.
Most department employees fall into exempted categories
of workers who stay on the job in a shutdown because they perform work
considered necessary to protect human life and property.
About 200,000 of the agency’s approximately 230,000 employees would keep working even if Congress fails to fund their agency.

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