Sunday, January 20, 2019

Shutdown looms as Homeland Security funding expires later this week

DHS funding

With the Friday deadline to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rapidly approaching, fears of a government shutdown reverberate through the streets of Washington and the halls of Congress, where President Obama’s contentious executive actions on immigration have drawn the ire of Republicans who have been attempting to attach amendments to prevent the implementation of the actions. With both parties pointing fingers at one another, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has proposed a stand-alone bill that denies funding of the President’s actions but is not attached to DHS funding, although the likelihood of his bill gaining traction is still up in the air.

“The House passed a bill weeks ago to fund the Department of Homeland Security,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Majority Leader John Boehner, and referring to the House’s recent passage of H.R. 240, which would simultaneously fund DHS and defund the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. “Now, Senate Democrats need to stop filibustering to block debate on that bill,” he added, emphasizing a renewed GOP approach to call out the Democrats for hypocrisy.

But Senate Democrats do not appear willing to budge, considering their four prior filibusters on the bill and the President’s promise of a veto to any legislation that erases his immigration actions. As was the case with the October 2013 government shutdown that cost the U.S. economy an estimated $30 billion, the party using government spending to demand changes to existing law will likely be blamed for the shutdown.

“If we don’t fund the Department of Homeland Security, we’ll get blamed as a party,” said Republican Senator and potential presidential candidate Lindsay Graham (SC). Added Sen. McConnell (one day after Republicans retook the Senate in November), “The American people have changed the Senate. So I think we have an obligation to change the behavior of the Senate and to begin to function again.”

Let the countdown begin.

NBC News, Latin Post